Tag Archive for: obesity

‘If it were ever to rain soup, the poor would only have forks’ – Brazilian proverb

Poverty and disease go hand in hand, not only in so-called developing countries but also in more affluent societies.

‘The fact that 20% of the population has limited access to healthy food – due to financial constraints – has serious consequences’, says Helena Canhão, investigator at the Health Science Faculty of the New University of Lisbon.
‘A poor people’s diet of cheap and fast food leads to obesity and diabetes.’

Obesity is Portugal’s biggest Public Health problem [zwaargewichten].
More than half of the population is too heavy, 75% of the elderly and nearly a third of all children.
Obesity is more common in the poor and rural parts of the country, in particular the Alentejo province.

People with primary school only are 3 times more often obese than higher educated people, who are not only better informed, but also earn more and can afford a healthy diet with fresh nutrients.

‘That social inequality has an impact on health is beyond doubt.
People who have access to a Mediterranean diet are socially more privileged’, says Pedro Graça, director of the National Program for the Promotion of Healthy Nutrition.

The average Portuguese eats for two, meaning almost 4000 calories per person per day!
Not only is this far too much, the quality of food is also poor. It contains three times the recommended amount of meat, fish and eggs and only half the amount of vegetables.

And although Portuguese cherish their daily bowl of soup, it is often too salty. Moreover, the intake of alcohol and soda is considerable. Nearly a quarter of all men and at least 10% of women drink too much and half the population consumes soft drinks on a daily basis.

As a result of the obesity epidemic diabetes is very common and Portugal even has the highest prevalence of diabetes in Europe. One in every 7 citizens is affected and 25% of the people – who die in hospital – have diabetes. The risk to get the disease is four times higher in people, who haven’t completed primary school – a number twice as high in Portugal, than elsewhere in Europe.

‘We are wasting our money on the wrong side’, says Luis Correia, head of the Diabetes Observatory. Treatment of diabetes now devours 12% of our national health budget. It would be much cheaper to prevent the disease instead.’

BOM FIM DE SEMANA                                                    (photos Observador/SAPO)

Childhood exercise has a protective effect on health later in life.

While active childhood reduces obesity  ( Zwaargewichten) in the short term, long term benefits might even be more crucial. Recent studies show, that the more exercise children had during adolescence, the more likely they were to be successful professionally. The reason for this is, that fitness at a young age is directly related to the developing brain, which does not complete its formation until one’s 20s.
In addition, adolescents who regular exercise, are more motivated to exercise as adults.

2 in 3 Portuguese are endangering their health by not taking enough exercise, leading to serious health conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, cancers (breast and bowel), depression and dementia.

Walking for 10 – 20 minutes at a brisk pace every day (150 minutes a week is recommended), not just increases fitness and improves mood, but also reduces the risk of early death by 15%, according to the World Health Organization.
Walking requires no special skills or equipment and is acceptable for most people.

Cycling is a good alternative to using the car. It not only reduces traffic congestion but also benefits the environment and health. Regular cycling ( 45 km a week) cuts the risk of death from any cause by 40% and the incidence of heart disease and cancer by 45%.

But is cycling a realistic option in Lisbon, known as the city of seven hills?

The Lisboa Horizontal project calculated, that 65% (nearly 700 km) of its streets have less than 4% inclination and hence accessible by bike.

In June EMEL, the city’s transport body, introduced 100 public hire bikes – two-thirds of them electric –and 10 docking stations in the Parque das Nações neighborhood.

This number is to be extended to 1400 bikes – 950 electric ones to cope with the hilly parts –being installed in the flatter parts of Lisbon – the Plateau area, the touristic Baixa and along the waterfront of the Tagus river.

The biggest problem, however, isn’t hills but the prevailing car culture. Lisbon takes first place in all EU capitals when it comes to car use.
Moreover, Portuguese parking is incredibly selfish and vehicles regularly block cycle tracts, jeopardizing safe cycling.

Change is not easy for everyone to swallow. Last week local residents, in the Alvalade and Avenidas Novas neighborhoods, complained about losing parking places, forcing EMEL to remove 15 brand-new docking stations from the area.

A luta continua – the fight goes on!


Waar krijg je nog voor 7½ euro een warme maaltijd met soep, vis, gekookte aardappels en groenten dobberend op een bedje olijfolie en een toetje toe? In Portugal is lunchtijd (“hora do almoço”) heilig en wordt er vrijwel altijd buitenshuis gegeten. Lekker en goedkoop. Maar vaak vet.

25% van de kinderen is te zwaar
Een op de vier Portugese kinderen is te zwaar – bij meisjes is dat zelfs 30% – en hun aantal neemt toe. Natuurlijk moeten kinderen meer bewegen en minder zoetigheid eten. Maar tussen woord en daad bestaat in de praktijk een diepe kloof, waardoor dikke kinderen vrijwel altijd dikke volwassenen worden.

10% van de volwassenen heeft diabetes
Meer dan een miljoen Portugezen heeft diabetes. Complicaties als hart- en vaataandoeningen, kanker en afwijkingen aan nieren en ogen beperken niet alleen de levensduur, maar ook de kwaliteit van leven.



Zwaarlijvigheid en diabetes: 2 handen op een dikke buik.
Bij te dikke mensen werkt het hormoon insuline niet goed meer. Insuline zorgt ervoor dat glucose (suiker) uit het bloed in de lichaamscellen wordt opgenomen, waar het wordt omgezet in energie. Als de glucosespiegel in het bloed te hoog blijft, spreken we van diabetes.

‘Coca-Cola’ tax
Om de toename van zwaarlijvigheid en diabetes een halt toe te roepen komt er in 2017 een prijsverhoging van 10-20% op alle frisdranken, afhankelijk van de hoeveelheid suiker die erin zit. Coca-Cola Portugal heeft al protest aangetekend en de maatregel ‘ongrondwettelijk’ genoemd.

“Eten geeft me rust. Mijn lichaam heeft geen eten nodig; ík heb eten nodig. Het is een manier om me te vullen met dingen die ik mis”  [ Uit : A Gorda ( De dikzak)  van Isabela Figueiredo, 2016 ]

Geniet van het weekend – Tenha um ótimo fim de semana !