Icelanders Second Fattest Western Nation Skip to content

Icelanders Second Fattest Western Nation

Icelanders have become the second most overweight western nation after Americans. This can for example be seen in the number of overweight pregnant women, some of whom weigh as much as 180 kilos (397 pounds) shortly before giving birth.


Landspítali, the national hospital (the white building in the foreground), is where the capital region’s delivery room is located. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

A task force of specialists working on behalf of the Icelandic Ministry of Welfare concludes in a new report, which will be presented this week, that it is important to find a solution to the weight problem of Icelanders, reports.

The rate of obesity among pregnant women is a particular matter of concern as the condition often leads to various problems during pregnancy and difficulty in giving birth.

“We have noticed that women are increasingly heavier when they come into the delivery room and what was considered heavy before—that women exceeded 100 kilos at the last stage of pregnancy—has become a daily event, and even women that have exceeded 120, 130 kilos aren’t that uncommon anymore,” said Hulda Hjartardóttir, chair of the Association of Icelandic Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

For a long time beds in the delivery room which could sustain 120 kilos were ordered. However, with the growing rate of obesity, some of these had to be replaced with new beds that can sustain 150 kilos. Now beds aren’t ordered unless they can sustain 190 kilos, Hjartardóttir explained.

“A few times a year women weighing 140, 150 kilos arrive at the delivery room, but I think the heaviest women are around 180 kilos. But fortunately that doesn’t happen often,” Hjartardóttir said.

“We know that these women generally have more problems with giving birth than those who weigh less but I must say that we have been incredibly successful in helping these women give birth and women in the highest weight category have had natural deliveries,” Hjartardóttir stated, adding that their babies are healthy in most cases.


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