Austrians are Growing Taller and Chubbier

News Brief: Oct. 2010

Austrians are becoming taller and chubbier according to a study published Sept. 16 by IMSB Austrian, the Institute for Sports Medicine Consulting (Institut für medizinische und sportwissenschaftliche Beratung). The 25-year study, based on the tracking of 15,000 Austrians from all age groups, revealed that 50% of all children were overweight, a 20% increase over the last four years. Overall, 44% of the Austrian population is overweight, compared to only 24% in 2006.

“We are developing a sick society,” Hans Holdhaus, head of the IMSB, told the Austrian daily Der Standard. But the problem here is not related to eating habits, as it is in countries like the United States. “Our society has an exercise problem.”

As body fat increases, so do health problems, the study’s authors said, and illnesses that normally strike Austrians in their 70s will soon concern a much younger generation, namely the group of 30-40 year olds. Generally, the study found an increased body fat ratio in all age groups except for the 13-25-year olds, whose weight gain is usually halted by growth and puberty. After that, however, our metabolism slows down, said Alena Kos of the ISMB, and “after the age of 30, we get baby fat again.”

Today, men at the age of 20 are two centimeters taller with an average height of 180cm and four kilograms heavier than 25 years ago, while young women measure on average 171cm – 6cm more than 30 years ago- and weigh 5kg more.

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