Finland, Canada named among world’s most-fit nations

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Finland and Canada — The Northern European country of Finland was named among the world’s most healthy, according to an investigation by the London-based newspaper, The Guardian. According to health experts, Finland joins Canada as having the distinction of being home to the lowest percentage of “couch potato” citizens among developed nations.

Pekka Puska, Director of Finland’s National Institute of Public Health claimed that in the 1970s, the country held the world record for heart disease. “Finnish men used to say that vegetables were for rabbits and not for men,” he said, “and the staple foods were bread and butter, fatty meat and full-fat milk!”

When the Finnish government found out the figures in the 1970s, it began a campaign to make a healthier nation. The number of males dying of heart problems has, over the past 35 years, decreased by 65 percent, and lung cancer deaths have also dropped dramatically.

Other nations are now considering using similar tactics as the Finnish government to make their own countries more healthy, but some say it is yet another example of a “nanny state.”

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