Much attention has been focused on obesity rates in the United Kingdom (UK). But what about the island’s many neighbors? According to the European Health Interview Survey—published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union (EU)—obesity rates across continental Europe continue to rise. The survey included 19 EU member states whose citizens were considered obese if they had a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30. Here is the breakdown of the states with the highest number of obese inhabitants, as reported in 2008 and 2009:

  • For women and men aged 18 and over, the lowest incidences of obesity were found in Romania (women, 8%; men, 7.6%), Italy (9.3%; 11.3%), Bulgaria (11.3%; 11.6%) and France (12.7%; 11.7%).
  • For women aged 18 and over, the greatest incidences of obesity were found in the UK (23.9%), Malta (21.1%), Latvia (20.9%) and Estonia (20.5% in 2006).
  • For men aged 18 and over, the greatest incidences of obesity were found in Malta (24.7%), the UK (22.1%), Hungary (21.4%) and the Czech Republic (18.4%).
  • The younger age groups had lower rates of obesity than the older age groups.
  • Individuals with lower levels of education tended to have a greater incidence of obesity.