After the implementation of the European Commission regulation 2018/255, relating to harmonized, high-quality health data collection across Europe, the third European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) was conducted in 2019. Through EHIS, the EU immediately collects essential health and social policy indicators through legal acts and simultaneously enforces them across all member states.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a global standard for measuring health, which accounts for a person's weight and height using a formula that measures body size.
The general European adult population is overweight (53%), which includes 36% pre-obese patients and 17% obese patients. Just under 3% of European adults are underweight - leaving 45% with a healthy BMI. According to age groups, education levels, and countries, overweight people have varying percentages.
Overweight (and obesity) is more prevalent among older age groups: 25% of 18-24-year-olds are overweight (and 6% obese) compared to 66% of 65-74 year-olds (22% obese). People aged 75 and older show lower statistics than those 18 to 74 years old.
The highest percentage of overweight adults is found in Malta and Croatia (65%), while the lowest percentages are found in Italy (46%) and France (47%).
There is also an inverse correlation between education levels and overweight and obesity. The percentage of overweight or obese individuals with low education levels is 59%, while the percentage of obese individuals with high education levels is 44%.
A growing number of chronic and non-communicable diseases are associated with obesity, and being obese is a serious and increasing health problem. Such diseases include type II diabetes, coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. The fourth edition of the EHIS is anticipated to take place in 2025. During this time, Europe Active will continue its mission to get more people active more often by getting more people more active. The findings in this study add credibility to the HealthyLifestyles4All initiative of the European Commission that is being launched during the upcoming European Week of Sport in 2021, which will be a great opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles for all.