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Less than 20% of Finns are happy with their weight

The large majority of men and women in Finland wish they weighed less, according to a recent survey. Every third female respondent said they diet several times a year.

Nainen punnitsee itseänsä vaa'alla.
Image: AOP

A recent Yle poll suggests that just 20 percent of men and 16 percent of women are satisfied with their weight.

Women typically want to lose a couple of kilos and men tend to wish they were five to ten kilos lighter. Seven percent of men responding to the survey wish they weighed more.

Nutritionist Patrik Borg isn’t surprised by the poll results, but finds them very unfortunate.

“Today’s living habits and environments make weight loss increasingly difficult. At the same time, everyone feels as if they have to be in better shape. This contradiction causes many to feel dissatisfied,” he says.

Over half of Finland is overweight

There are also health reasons behind this dissatisfaction: two-thirds of Finnish men and about a half of Finnish women are overweight. Twenty percent of the population is obese.

The National Institute of Health and Welfare says that body weight has been rising among Finnish men since the 1970s and among Finnish women since the 80s. This trend has, however, slowed down or even stabilized in the recent decade.

Borg gently urges people to consider the choices they make.

“Many people could just rectify things in their lifestyles and the weight would fall away. Dieting is not the solution,” he says.

Half of men have never dieted

While both men and women are unsatisfied with their weight, the poll indicates that the sex more likely to go on diets is female. 35 percent of women never diet, while half of men have never tried it.

The most worrying finding of the survey is the fact that every third female respondent said they start a diet several times throughout the year.

Nutritionist Patrik Borg says the simple fact that many diets are necessary is proof that they don’t work. 

“People turn to solutions that are too diet-like: they say ’If I just up my game and cut back, it will create a permanent change’. But permanent weight loss isn’t a game of chess, you have to patiently implement sensible changes and take your time.”

The Taloustutkimus poll was conducted in November 2016 and represents a sample group of 1,059 respondents aged 15 to 79. 

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