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National strategy against obesity launched

Video: Paul Spiteri Lucas

The national strategy against obesity was launched this morning to educate people about the health problems caused by being overweight and obese.

Launching the strategy, Health Minister Joe Cassar said a campaign was being launched just before the Christmas period in a bid to create awareness about the importance of eating in moderation and not eat just for the sake of eating.

Recent studies have shown that 36 per cent of Maltese are overweight while 22 per cent are obese. The rate is also very high in children where a 2010 study showed that 40 per cent of children aged between seven and 11 are obese or overweight.

Bieng obese or overweight, the minister siad, did not only affect one’s quality of life and its longevity but was also responsible for a number of diseases including diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure. The problem also had an effect on society and on the economy because of lost productivity.

He noted that the cost of being overweight and obese meant an additional €20 million a year on the health service. This money could be used to buy more medicines or even to build two health centres.

Dr Cassar said that this national strategy will involve outreach programmes to the community, weight loss classes and information campaigns.

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