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Europe’s battle against obesity. Half of all Europeans struggle with weight gain

Europe’s battle against obesity. Half of all Europeans struggle with weight gain

Image source: © canva
Maja Kozłowska,
26.01.2024 15:45

Obesity is a severe medical condition that has harmful effects on both mental and physical health. It is a growing problem affecting individuals worldwide. Good habits can aid in the fight against the disease, ultimately benefiting everyone.

Living a sedentary lifestyle, having an improper diet, and not having enough time can lead to the development of a dangerous disease – obesity – which doesn't just affect the body but can also have a significant impact on one's mental health. It can significantly affect self-esteem, cause a person to isolate themselves, and, in severe cases, lead to various disorders, including depression.

Furthermore, the physical impact of being overweight or obese should not be ignored. These symptoms can lead to severe health issues and even mortality. However, it is not impossible to fight this disease and implementing healthy habits that can help improve both physical and mental well-being is an excellent first step.

Over half of Europeans struggle with obesity

Many overweight and obese individuals still face discrimination and social stigma. While the body-positivity movement is gaining momentum, merely increasing representation may not adequately address this pressing issue. Despite the fact social campaigns can help people with obesity accept themselves, their comfort level in everyday situations is a more accurate indicator. Unfortunately, many people lack sensitivity and tend to make hurtful comments, primarily online. According to data from the World Health Organization, up to 59% of adults in Europe struggle with obesity.

However, treatment alone is not enough. Self-awareness and engaging in activities that restore a sense of empowerment are also crucial. These activities should be tailored to an individual's unique needs and abilities.

"It can be challenging to provide advice on obesity without understanding the underlying causes for each individual. Similar to other health conditions, the reasons for obesity can vary, and the treatment plans must be tailored to each patient's unique situation in consultation with their doctor," explains Marta from Poland.

New Year’s resolutions

As we begin the new year, there are two challenges that we can take on to improve our physical and mental well-being. The first is Dry January, which involves abstaining from alcohol for the entire month. Completing this challenge can lead to a sense of satisfaction and better health outcomes.

The second challenge is Veganuary, which encourages people to adopt a vegan diet for January. It's important to consult with a doctor or nutritionist before drastically changing our diet. While consuming too much meat can be unhealthy, it's important to note that not everyone can sustain a plant-based diet due to digestive issues with legumes.

Give Veganuary a try
Give Veganuary a try (canva)

What does Veganuary look like in Lithuania?

Austeja Vakarinaite, the head of Lithuania's Nori Gali initiative, explains that Veganuary was launched in her country three years ago.

"We are introducing a new program option for individuals who have specific questions and are unable to find answers through our newsletters, Facebook, or website. These individuals will have the opportunity to arrange a private meeting with one of our nutritionists, Dr. Tomas Vaiciunas or Elena Kondrataite," she announced in an interview with the "Delfi" website.

She also revealed her approach to encouraging people to participate in Veganuary.

"An important aspect that I believe makes it easier for people to understand and apply our ideas is the sample weekly menu. Those who are worried about meeting their nutritional requirements and want to avoid overeating or consuming too few calories can experiment with a balanced vegan menu. This menu includes uncomplicated dishes demonstrating the variety of a plant-based diet," she elaborated.

Every day is an excellent day to make a change

Meeting a challenge can bring a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. However, it's important to remember not to push yourself beyond your limits and do something that goes against your values and beliefs. True satisfaction should come from positive actions, not from frustration and negativity. Recognising our limitations and boundaries is essential, and exceeding them under controlled conditions is okay.

Therefore, whether you decide to participate in Veganuary in January, March, or June, it doesn't really matter. You can enjoy the freedom to indulge in fresh, seasonal vegetables whenever you like. The duration of the challenge can also be flexible, whether for a week, a month, or limited to weekdays. Ultimately, the most important thing is to make choices that align with your values and make you feel good.

"If you decide to begin your journey towards change in January, you may find yourself competing with millions of others doing the same thing. This can create an unhealthy sense of rivalry. Additionally, asking your friends for updates on your progress towards your new goals as early as 2 January can be uncomfortable. However, you should remember that no one forces you to participate in this mass race. You can choose to start on any other date that suits you and move forward without any peer pressure. Focus on controlling your behaviour and making alternative choices to achieve your goals," advises Maksim Reznikov of Lithuania, a project manager and partner at the marketing agency Fabula Rud Pedersen Group.

Reznikov also emphasises the importance of setting short-term goals. People tend to expect quick rewards, and small challenges are better for achieving these rewards and enjoying the changes in habits that we can see immediately.

Reznikov also stresses that short-term goals are crucial for creating new habits. Setting small challenges that offer immediate rewards to help people stay motivated is better.

Source: Delfi.lt

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