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Saturday 27th December 2003

Fit Fins

Over the last few decades there has been a dramatic increase in high fat diets and sedentary lifestyles. Mike Thomson travelled to Finland to see what measures they have in place.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have been scouring the world to see how other countries are dealing with this problem.

Finland is one country which appears to have a public health campaign that is paying off. Latest figures suggest that 75% of the Finnish population take exercise (of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) and heart disease has been cut by 50%.

Many Fins are now members of Health Clubs, although cross-country ski-ing and ice-bathing are also popular activities. A healthier way to get around are by sledges which are pulled by Huskies. Hannu & Tiina Haapalainen from Koitti near Mikelle showed Mike how easy it is to get around.

Finland being the land of the fit – may come as a surprise to many people. The Fins have twice the rate of suicide death, compared to the average E.U rate. They are also renowned as heavy drinkers. This is of particular concern to the Finnish government, who are anticipating an increase in alcohol consumption. This is expected to happen when neighbouring Estonia joins the E.U. Cheap imports are expected to flood the market.

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