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Tuesday's papers: Fat Finland, mass gatherings and more jobless

Is junk food the new smoking in Finland?

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Scientists say that while genetics may play a role in weight gain, extra calories are always needed to put on pounds. Image: AOP

In Finland nearly three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women are overweight, but individuals aren’t to blame, reports Helsingin Sanomat in its top story on Tuesday.

Pertti Mustajoki, an internist specialised in obesity, said lawmakers should help guide people toward healthy choices, by for example, adding a hefty 20-percent tax hike to sugary products.

"Candy and potato chips are insanely cheap these days," he said, noting that food industry lobbyists have prevented politicians from cracking down on junk food.

Mustajoki argued that most people are unaware of the calorie bombs they are consuming, which is why he wants to see warning labels on chocolate bars and soda. He also suggested banishing candy from check-outs to prevent last-minute impulse buys and bans on junk food ads targeting children.

"Today people can’t believe smoking was allowed at restaurants and workplaces. Society should protect people in the same way when it comes to excess calories," he said.

New guidelines for public events

Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI) are set to publish new guidelines on Tuesday for public gatherings in October, reports Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet.

In an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus AVI offices, which license public events, have been issuing monthly guidelines on public gatherings.

Last month AVI limited events to 50 people and tightened conditions under which they could be held.

Unemployment uptick

Mauri Kotamäki, chief economist for the Finland Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday tweeted that employment in the country was slipping, referring to the latest labour force survey figures from Statistics Finland which show 65,000 fewer people in jobs than a year ago, according to business daily Kauppalehti.

But there was, however, a bright spot despite the downward trend. Commenting on the 7.5 percent unemployment rate, Pasi Kuoppamäki, Danske Bank’s chief economist, noted that the employment levels of those over 65 years of age had actually increased.

These latest figures issued by the national number cruncher peg the employment level at just under 72 percent, which is three percentage points below the 75-percent target the government has set for itself.

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