Skip to content

THL: Finns getting fatter, diabetes becoming more common

Obesity is a major concern in Finland.

If weight increases occur in those already overweight, it is likely to contribute to an rise in Type 2 diabetes in Finland. Image: James Davies / AOP

Several common diseases' risk factors have decreased over the past 20 years for people living in Finland, according to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). But obesity is still a major concern.

The number of obese people in the country is projected to increase in the future, according to a study by the public health authority, which estimated health concerns for the adult population by the year 2040.

Diabetes is likely to become more common as obesity increases, although the forecast is subject to uncertainty due to limited data. Currently, about 10 percent of people in Finland suffer from Type 2 diabetes.

"The continuing rise in obesity is a cause for concern. If those who are already overweight see their weight increase, it is likely to contribute to the rise in diabetes and other diseases," said Hanna Tolonen, Research Programme Manager at THL.

Finns still smoke

The proportion of the population who smoke regularly has meanwhile steadily dropped and is expected to continue decreasing in the future.

Finland's national target is to reduce tobacco consumption to five percent by 2030, but according to THL projections, this target will not be met.

The study used data collected from the National Population Health Surveys (FINRISKI and FINTerveys) on the development of various risk factors for the period 1997-2017 and Statistics Finland's population projections.