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There are more underweight than obese young people in the Basque Country

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According to data from the latest Basque Government Health Survey conducted between 2017 and 2018, the breakdown of young people aged 15 to 24 based on their Body Mass Index is as follows: 8.9% are underweight, 78.1% have a normal weight, 11.1% are overweight, and the remaining 1.9% are obese.

Breakdown of young people aged  15 to 24 in the Basque Country, based  on their Body Mass Index  (%)

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is considered to be a determining factor of a person’s health and it is calculated by dividing a person's stated weight (in kilograms) by their height (in metres) squared.

The Body Mass Index (BMI)

If the result of the calculation is less than 18.5, the person is considered underweight; if it stands between 18.5 and 24.9, a person's weight is normal; between 25.0 and 29.9, a person is deemed overweight; and if it is 30 or more, a person is considered to be obese.

If we compare the data on young people with those of the general population of the Basque Country, we shall find that among the young people there is a higher percentage in the normal or underweight categories and a lower percentage in the overweight or obese categories than in the general population.

Breakdown of the young people and the general population in the Basque Country, based on their Body Mass Index

Indeed, if we compare the data on young women and men in the Basque Country, we find that a higher percentage of women are underweight while a higher percentage of men are obese. However, this index does not distinguish between muscle and fat mass. Consequently, sportspersons and muscular people score higher on this index even if they are not physically obese, a situation that is more common among men.

Breakdown of young people aged 15 to 24 in the Basque Country based on their BMI, by sex (%)

Finally, if we compare the data on young people in the Basque Country with those of young people in the various countries that comprised the European Union in 2017 (the time of the study), we find that the Basque Country has the lowest percentage of obese young people and the highest percentage of young people that have a normal weight.

Breakdown of young people aged 16 to 24 in the EU based on their BMI in 2017 (%)