Even though the arrival of the obesity in Estonia was initially delayed, the problem has nevertheless arrived now, said the director of the Institute of Health Sciences and Sports, Kristjan Port.
Laura Mallene, a journalist at the weekly Eesti Ekspress, carried out an experiment with a fat suit that made her appear like a person weighing around 170 kilograms. She lived with these proportions for two weeks to see what life is like for obese people.
She told ETV’s morning program today that she experienced both physical as well as social exclusion.
Triin Eglit’s PhD thesis recently revealed that 32 percent of people in Estonia are obese, but Port told the program that the increase in obesity has already been obvious.
“We could say that we saw it coming by looking at what was happening elsewhere in the world. Estonia is no island. Thanks to the social transformations the arrival of obesity may have been delayed but now it has undoubtedly arrived,” Port said.
He said obesity cannot be blamed on genes alone. Looking at changes that have taken place over the last 40 years, people’s weight has increased but genetic changes do not take place over such a short period. “It is more of a social process,” he said.
According to Port, some people are more inclined to gain weight - something that used to be an advantage when it came to survival but is now becoming a hindrance when there is plenty of food around.
There are genetic tests on offer for a fee to find out if people should exercise more and eat more healthily. Port admitted it is useful when people are told to be more healthy, but said there is no reason to charge people for it, as it should occur to everyone that exercise and moderation with carbohydrates is good for their health.