Half of Europe overweight or obese

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, European commission, Overweight and obesity

A new report from the European Commission and the OECD raises fresh concerns about overweight and obesity, and lifestyle-related disease.

While there are big differences between member states, in most obesity statistics have doubled over the last 20 years.

Welcoming the report, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, said: "In order to reverse the growing trend in obesity and other health problems in the EU we need reliable and up-to-date data to underpin the action we take as policymakers. This is where the Health at a Glance report makes such an important contribution and shall be a useful tool in the coming months and years."

A high-level EU conference on nutrition, overweight and obesity is taking place in Brussels today and tomorrow, to look at ways if working together to reverse the trend.

Other findings were that life expectancy has increased from 72 years in 1980 to 78 years in 2007; that heart disease still accounts for 40 per cent of deaths in Europe, making it the biggest killer; and that dementia rates are rising with a growing population.

The full report is available at http://ec.europa.eu/health/reports/european

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