VILNIUS - A healthy portion of the local cepelinai (meat filled potato dumplings) or spirgai (salted pig fat) has not weighed down the average Lithuanian teen, according to findings in a report published in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
A healthy portion of the local cepelinai (meat filled potato dumplings) or spirgai (salted pig fat) has not weighed down the average Lithuanian teen, according to findings in a report published in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
The study of nearly 30,000 youngsters aged 13 and 15 in 15 countries found that those in the Baltic country were least likely to be obese.
The United States, widely regarded as the one country with the largest percentage of overweight people, made the top of the list as the nation with the highest proportion of obese teenagers.
Among 15-year-old American girls, 31 percent were moderately overweight and 15 percent were obese. As for American boys of the same age group, the report classified 28 percent as moderately overweight and 14 percent as obese.
Lithuanian adolescents landed much more lightly on the scale. In the Baltic country, which had the lowest rates in the latest study, a mere 2 percent of girls and 0.8 percent of boys were obese.
Moreover, researchers cited only 8 percent of girls and 5 percent of boys there as overweight.
Why are the Baltic youth relatively skinny? The study, led by Inge Lissau, who works at the National Institute of Public Health in Copenhagen, Denmark, explained that Lithuanian adolescents live in a country with few fast-food restaurants and receive less money to buy snacks.
Greece and Portugal had the highest percentage of overweight teens following the United States.
Other countries examined in the survey include Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Belgium, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and Israel.
While Lithuania (and perhaps its Baltic neighbors as well) can breathe a sigh of relief for its relatively slim teenagers, the real test will come with time. According to the World Health Organization, obesity is no longer just an American problem but is an increasing concern in Europe and other developed nations. With an increasing number of these people abandoning traditional dietary habits and adopting more sedentary lifestyles, it warns that waistlines around the world may be expanding too far.