Norwegian health minister admits country’s programme shortfalls

Norway’s top health official has said that the Nordic country does not have sufficient measures in place to ensure the country’s physical well-being.

Jonas Gahr Støre told the Vårt Land news agency, “We must do more to make it easier to make the right choices for good health. Health is much more than ending up in hospitals or nursing homes.”

The health minister went on to add, “We eat too much sugar, salt and fat. Experts say we’re 15 years behind the US when it comes to obesity and diabetes. These problems will not disappear just because we want them to.”

Støre’s remarks reflect growing concern among health professionals in Norway over alarming statistics on obesity. More than one fifth of all Norwegian males aged 40-45 now have a Body Mass Index (BMI) falling in the ‘obese’ category, whilst a report issued in 2010 claimed that one in four Norwegian children will be overweight before 2025.

Jørgen Foss, who heads the LFO food authority, agrees with the health minster, and says the state needs to take drastic steps. Speaking to NRK reporters, he said, “It is completely wrong when obviously unhealthy items are labelled as healthy.”

Støre has since responded, “We need to counteract things if they are as Jørgen Foss says. He is a key spokesperson and contributes to reducing the shame and stigma associated with [being] overweight.”

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