Health Bodies Question Finland’s Future Over Finns’ Physical Fitness

In the joint letter, the signatories, ranging from the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health (Soste), to the Finnish Olympic Committee and the Finnish Non-Communicative Disease Alliance (the country’s largest patient and public health organization and the largest scientific association), struck an alarming note and demanded that the government take immediate action to address the issue.
By the 2040s, Finns will no longer to be able to perform a number of jobs that are key for the very functioning of society unless action is taken, Juha Viertola, the executive director of the Finnish Diabetes Association, warned in a striking note.
“You of course need physical capabilities to perform in the Defense Force, but there are concerns also about other occupations, such as rescue workers and first responders. This is an extremely serious question for the very functioning of our society,” Viertola told national media.

“Better public health would increase employment, healthy life years and well-being, as well as reduce basic health care and hospital care costs. Investments are needed, especially in preventative work and work that promotes public health,” he said.

The organizations hereby called on the country’s future government, which is yet in the making following a general election, to introduce society-wide measures that promote healthier lifestyles, be it by adjusting tax rates on food and physical exercise or by altering municipal zoning in order to promote walking and cycling, which both encourage physical activity.
A policy program to boost physical activity among the public was estimated to generate significant cost savings for the next government, whereas a lack of physical efforts is said to cost the Finnish society about 3.5 billion euros. Efforts to prevent diabetes alone were estimated to generate Finland one billion euros in savings.
Previously, obesity has been named as one of the key factors influencing Finns’ ill health, ranging from diabetes to cardiovascular diseases. Between 1978 and 2017, the prevalence of obesity in Finland soared from 12.0 to 26.1 percent among men and from 18.9 percent to 27.5 percent among women, with the issue showing no respite even in recent years.

This content was originally published here.

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