Increased overweight among men
Health;Social conditions, welfare and crime
helseforhold, Health, care and social relations, survey on living conditions, health survey, use of health services, disability, health problems, ill health, use of medicine, lifestyles, diet, overweight, BMI, obesity, physical exercise, alcohol intake, smoking, use of snuffLiving conditions , Health conditions and living habits, Social conditions, welfare and crime, Health

Health, care and social relations, survey on living conditions2008



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Increased overweight among men

One in four Norwegians were overweight in 2008. The percentage of Norwegians being overweight has increased by 7 percentage points during the last ten years. Men in particular seem to be putting on weight.

More men than women are overweight, and the percentage of the population being overweight has increased more among men than among women. In 2008 one third of all men and one fifth of all women were overweight. In addition one fifth of the population was what may be termed somewhat overweight. If the limit for overweight is put at 25 BMI or above, four in ten Norwegians may be considered overweight. One in ten Norwegians are obese. There has been little change in overweight among women since 2002.

Fewer sweets and soft drinks with sugar among young people

Overweight and obesity occur even among young people aged 16-24 years, and the percentage of this group being overweight has increased in the period 1998-2008 from 7 to 12 per cent. Some of the habits among young people have had a positive development during the last three years: The young drink less soft drinks with sugar, and they eat fewer sweets. Still, the percentage of young people who are overweight has not decreased. This is so even if more people exercise every week, and fewer people say they never exercise. On the other hand, there has been no increase in the percentage of young people that are obese from 2005 to 2008. There have otherwise been small changes in young people’s diet - about the same percentage of young people eat fruit and vegetables and drink milk on a daily basis. Many young people drink fruit or vegetable juice daily, but few of them eat fish or seafood daily, compared to older age groups.

Prevalence of serious overweight (obesity) among men, by age. 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2008. Per cent

Prevalence of serious overweight (obesity) among women, by age. 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2008. Per cent

More healthy diet among adults

While 10 per cent of young people eat fish or seafood every day, more than 20 per cent of people over 45 years eat fish or seafood daily. Adults do not drink soft drinks with sugar as often as young people. There has been little change in the percentage of adults who eat sweets daily. In 2008 there were no difference between young people and adults. More adults than young people eat fruit, berries and vegetables daily, while young people are in the lead when it comes to drinking juice. In all age groups more people ate fruit and berries daily in 2008 than in 2005. The percentage of people eating vegetables daily is unchanged or a little lower in 2008 than in 2005.

More people exercise, and fewer are inactive

More people exercise at least once weekly in 2008 than in 2005, even in the age group above 25 years. The percentage of people exercising has increased in all age groups, except for women aged 25-44 years. The percentage of people who say that they never exercise has been reduced in all age groups.

Health Interview Survey

Statistics Norway’s Health Interview Survey (HIS) is a stable and regular source of data about different aspects of the population’s health. The survey runs every three years. The data is representative for the population living in private households. Every survey gives a picture of the population’s health on a given point in time. The regularity of the survey supplies data so that we can follow changes over time. The survey covers data on self-rated health, about illness, disability, living habits and use of health services. The response rate in 2008 was 66.8 per cent. The information being gathered is based on personal interviews with approximately 6 500 individuals.

For documentation of the survey, see Dokumentasjonsrapport

BMI ( Body Mass Index ) The measure does not distinguish between muscle mass and fat. BMI is calculated as weight divided by height times height.

Example: 70 / (1.80 x 1.80) = 21.6

The Body Mass Index is calculated with data on self-assessed height and weight from HIS. Body Mass Index is a measure of overweight. Statistics Norway publishes figures for somewhat overweight, overweight and obesity, and applies the cut-off points recommended by WHO-EURO.


BMI , weight / height squared

Somewhat overweight: 25-26.9

Overweight: 27-29.9

Obesity: 30 and higher

More snuff users than smokers among young males 1

Fewer young people aged 16-24 smoked daily in 2008 than in 2005; a fall from 21 to 17 per cent. There were also slightly fewer occasional smokers. More males aged 16-24 were snuff users than smokers in 2008. While the share who smoked daily in this group was 15 per cent, a total of 18 per cent were taking snuff on a daily basis. For females, smoking was most common in the same age group; 19 per cent were daily smokers, while 5 per cent used snuff daily in 2008.

Daily smokers, sometimes smokers and users of snuff (only 2005 and 2008), men and age. 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2008. Per cent

Daily smokers, sometimes smokers and users of snuff (only 2005 and 2008), women and age. 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2008. Per cent

Adult men also using snuff 1

Many adult men aged 25-44 were also daily snuff users; 18 per cent. However, there were more smokers than snuff users in this group, which was also the case in all age groups and for both sexes, with the exception of the youngest males. Among the women, snuff is most commonly used by those aged under 25. Almost no women over the age of 25 use snuff.

Around one in three use tobacco 1

Around 30 per cent of everyone aged 16 and over smoke either daily or occasionally, and 10 per cent use snuff. Less than 5 per cent both smoke and take snuff. Overall, 35 per cent use tobacco in one form or another, either daily or occasionally.

See also Poorer health in northern parts of Norway .

1  The text was amended on 19. February 2010 as a result of errors in the previously published figures for 2005 on snuff use.

The previously published figures on snuff use in 2005 have been deleted. There proved to be an error in the questionnaire, which meant that not everyone was asked about snuff use when the data was collected. The figures were therefore incorrect (too low), and they cannot be corrected.