, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 377-382
Date: 09 Jun 2006

High obesity incidence in northern Sweden: How will Sweden look by 2009?

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The study objective was to evaluate the incidence of overweight and obesity in two rural areas of Sweden and the U.S. Previously collected data were used from 1990 to 1999 Multinational Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease (MONICA) studies in northern Sweden. Health censuses of adults in Otsego County, New York were collected in 1989 and 1999. Adults aged 25–64 year in 1989 with reports from both surveys were included. The 10-year change in body mass index (BMI), overweight (BMI 25–29.9 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI ≥ 30) were obtained from panel studies. Incidences of overweight and obesity were calculated and compared between countries. The 10-year incidence of obesity was 120/1000 in Sweden and 173/1000 in the U.S. (p<0.001 for difference between countries). In 1999, prevalence of obesity rose to 18.4% (Sweden) and 32.3% (U.S.). Cumulative distribution curves show that the BMI distribution in Sweden during 1999 is nearly identical to the U.S. during 1989. The obese proportions of these rural populations increased from 1989 to 1999. Sweden’s obesity epidemic has a progression similar to that of the U.S., implying that by 2009, the prevalence of obesity in rural northern Sweden may mimic that present in rural New York during 1999. Attention should be paid to the increased obesity rates in rural areas.