October 19, 2010

AUSTRIA: Businesses launch fight against fat

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SALZBURG / Austrian Times / Business / October 19, 2010

Dozens of companies across Austria have vowed to fight their employees’ obesity.

Karin Hofer of the Salzburg Medical Insurance (SGKK) said Monday 70 firms based in the province have joined SGKK’s health awareness programmes.

Hofer told the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper that around one in three of these companies were focusing on obesity as the leading topic.  © europics.at


She explained that one of their projects gives staff the chance to lose weight on company expenses during work time.

"Obesity causes enormous costs for the economy and the society," Friedrich Hoppichler of the Austrian Adiposity Society said in an interview with the daily newspaper. He also warned that overweight people out of work might face disadvantages when looking for a new job.

Fifty-seven per cent of Austrian men and 43 per cent of Austrian women are overweight, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Research by ISMB Austria, a medical and sports consulting firm, found that 44 per cent of the some 1,100 examined secondary school students in Vienna had a body fat percentage of more than 20 per cent.

ISMB Austria director Hans Holdhaus warned: "We are becoming a sick society."

He claimed health problems that used to occur at ages 60 to 80 would soon affect people at the age of just 30, 40 or 50.

"Physical activity is the key. Today’s society doesn’t have as much of a nutrition problem as it has a sport issue. Physical activity can compensate for many dietary errors," he explained.

Source: Austrian Times