Finns getting thinner and smoking less says study

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A new study suggests smoking is on the decline in Finland. (Denis Charlet / AFP)
A new study suggests smoking is on the decline in Finland. (Denis Charlet / AFP)
A new study by the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL, indicates that Finland may be the first nation in modern history to see a trend toward a leaner population.

It also found fewer Finns smoking and more people choosing healthier foods.

It looks as if fewer Finns may be overweight in future. A new THL survey indicates that the share of people who are overweight in the general population has come to a stop and maybe has even started going into decline.

The 2012 study shows that 58% of men and 43% of women in Finland are overweight. While this is still high, no further rise is in sight, something that THL Secretary General Pekka Puska believes is a significant change.

“If follow-up studies confirm that weight gain within the Finnish population has stopped, Finland will be among the first countries in the world that can show this,” says Secretary General Puska.

The Finnriski 2012 study by THL indicates that this is in fact the case.

“Weight gain is a global phenomenon. The background to it stopping here is that we have drawn attention to the quality of diets and to exercise,” Puska explains.

Less smoking, healthier foods

The study also shows that smoking in Finland has gone into decline, albeit slowly. The sharpest fall in smoking of late has been seen among men. According to this survey, 21% of Finnish men smoke on a daily basis, while that figure for women is 14%.

Most smokers interviewed for the study said that they are concerned about their smoking and over half said that they want to quit.

As a nation, the Finns’ diet has also become healthier. People consume more fat-free dairy products and eat more vegetables than in the past.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare THL has carried out a similar annual survey since 1978. The 2012 study included responses from 2601 people.

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