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Physical health in Belgium- statistics & facts

The importance of having a healthy lifestyle is widely known. Nonetheless, in 2018, on average one out of five Belgians stated to not get enough physical exercise. In addition, roughly one out of two Belgians said they did not have a healthy diet. Half of the Belgian adult population was overweight and 20 percent were obese. Therefore, over two-thirds of the Belgian population had a BMI related to various health conditions.

Besides physical activity and personal diets, some behaviors are known to be harmful to physical health. Although the share of smokers and daily alcohol drinkers decreased in the Belgian population, roughly a quarter of Belgians were smokers, and one out of ten Belgians drank alcohol daily. Furthermore, 2018 figures reveal an increase in the consumption of psychoactive substances, especially cocaine and ecstasy.

Physical health indicators rely on how frequently medical tests are performed. In 2018, most Belgians had their blood pressure checked and have been screened for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes at least once in the last five years. During that year, it was also estimated that 70 percent of the Belgian population had their blood sugar and cholesterol measured. However, more specific medical check-ups record lower numbers. For instance, 38.4 percent of adult Belgians had been screened only once in their lifetime for sexually transmitted diseases.

Since 2001, the prevalence of chronic conditions has risen in Belgium. Indeed, the share of Belgians who suffer from a chronic affliction reached over 29 percent in 2018. During that year, the share of people who suffer from a chronic condition in the region of Wallonia reached 32.7 percent. In other words, a third of Belgians living in the region of Wallonia suffered from a chronic illness.

Among the many chronic conditions, a 2018 study showed that the prevalence of back pain was especially high in the Belgian population. In 2018, 23 percent of Belgian men suffered from chronic back problems, compared to 26.4 percent of Belgian women. Besides chronic back pain, gender differences were noticeable in the prevalence of certain chronic conditions in the Belgian population. After back issues, the most common chronic illness for Belgian women was osteoarthrosis, whereas hypercholesterolemia and high blood pressure were most common for Belgian men. Finally, regardless of gender, allergies are a growing common chronic condition in Belgium.

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Physical health in Belgium

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