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Overweight can reduce life expectancy in Portugal by 2.2 years | OECD

Between 2020 and 2050, overweight and associated diseases will reduce the average life expectancy by about three years in OECD and European Union countries to 28. In Portugal, the estimate indicates a decrease of 2.2 years. during this period. Data is part of the report. The heavy burden of obesity: the economics of prevention, released Thursday by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

According to the document, which estimates the impact of the disease on the country's economy, "more than half of the population of 34 in the 36 OECD countries are overweight and every fourth person is obese." Despite efforts by several countries, the OECD rate of adult obesity increased between 2010 and 2016. Portugal appears in the report – which uses data for 2016 – below the OECD and European Union average of 28 (in the percentage of obese adults) with 21% and overweight of 57.5%, but higher in obesity assessment (36.7%). In the case of obesity, the OECD average is about 23% for the EU. Before obesity, they average 35% in the OECD and 36% in the EU Overweight is on average 58% in the OECD and 59% in the EU.

The disease has costs in quality and lifespan as well as economic. In an analysis from 52 countries and projecting the effects of the disease by 2050, the organization concludes that “close to 60% of all new diabetes cases will be associated with overweight, as well as 18%, 11% and 8% of all. cases of cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer. "

The rise of these chronic diseases is increasing the demand for health care. "OECD countries spend about 8.4 percent of their budget on healthcare to provide treatment for overweight illness," the report said.

The document points to about three million premature deaths (deaths in people between the ages of 30 and 70) per year associated with being overweight. "On average, 61 people per 100,000 people will die prematurely from overweight each year on average in the OECD. In the European Union, at the age of 28, that average is higher from 73 people to 100,000 people, ”the report said. Portugal seems below this average. It is predicted that 46 people will die prematurely per 100,000 inhabitants.

Adding illness and premature death will affect life expectancy over the next 30 years. "Being overweight and related illnesses will reduce the average life expectancy by 2.7 years in OECD countries," the report added, adding that the EU average of 28 years is 2.9 years. Mexico and Poland are the countries that are losing the most. The data show that in Portugal the expected effect at the age of 30 is 2.2 years less than the expected life expectancy.

Invest in prevention

Obesity "reduces employment rates, increases early retirement, absenteeism, and presidency." For the 52 countries, the OECD estimates that the result will be equivalent to a reduction of 54 million full-time workers. "In adulthood, people with at least one chronic illness associated with being overweight are likely to be employed next year," the document notes.

"It is crucial to invest in the prevention and treatment of overweight and reduce its burden on people and society," the OECD says. He recalls that countries have already started implementing a range of policies and interventions, but says "more needs to be done."

Portugal has followed this movement and in recent years has developed several measures to improve nutrition and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Among the first actions are agreements with bakers to reduce the percentage of salt in bread, and with coffee companies to reduce the amount of sugar in individual packages.

In 2017, the government created a tax on sugary drinks. This year, common consumers of this type of drink drank 5630 tonnes of sugar as a result of the reduction in sugar levels that companies have promoted in products to pay less taxes. The echelons of this tax have been revised in this year's State Budget.

Also this year, after a lengthy negotiation process with the food industry and distribution associations, the General Directorate of Health (DGS) signed a protocol that will allow the transformation of about two thousand food products. The goal is to reduce the amounts of sugar, salt and fat in products that represent at least 80% of total sales in each category. The list includes sugar, breakfast cereals, soft drinks, fruit nectars, yoghurts, chocolate milk, and salt, chips and more. nibbles, bread, ready-made soups and some ready meals.

At the same time, DGS also focused on promoting healthy living by increased physical activity. One of the initiatives developed by the National Program for the Promotion of Physical Activity was to assess the level of physical activity and physical inactivity of National Health Service users and to provide counseling to keep people more active. Between the end of 2017 and June this year, family doctors rated about 120,000 users and issued more than 20,000 guides.

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