중앙데일리

Korea rate of obesity ranks lowest among OECD nations

Apr 13,2009
Korea has the lowest obesity rate among the OECD members, the latest data available for each of the 30 most advanced countries shows.

The 2009 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development fact book shows that the obesity ratio for Korea was 3.5 percent. Closely trailing Korea at 3.9 percent was Japan, which is the other Asian country in the Western-heavy club. The fact book is based on a survey of people aged 15 or older conducted in 2006 or the latest year available. Switzerland came in third with an overall obesity ratio of 7.7 percent. Norway and Italy came in at 9.0 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively.

Bringing up the rear was the United States which had a chunky ratio of 34.3 percent. Other countries with the highest obesity rates were Mexico (30.0 percent), New Zealand (25.0 percent), Britain (24.0 percent) and Greece (21.9 percent).

The obesity rate is the portion of obese people as a percentage of the population. A person is defined as obese if his or her body mass index is over 30. The BMI measures an individual’s weight in relation to height. By gender, Korean women were found to be in the best shape. Korean men came in second.

The obesity rate for Korean females was 3.3 percent, followed by Japan at 4.3 percent, Switzerland at 7.5 percent and Norway at 8.0 percent. American females recorded the highest obesity rate at 35.3 percent, with Mexican women close behind at 34.5 percent.

As for men, Japan’s obesity rate of 3.4 percent came in ahead of Korea’s 3.7 percent. The title again went to American males (35.3 percent) with Greek men following at 26.0 percent.

Korea and Japan switched positions when both obese and overweight people were lumped together. Overweight, a less serious condition than being obese,reflects BMI between 25 and 30. Japan recorded 24.9 percent in the rate of obesity and overweight combined, followed by Korea at 30.5 percent. France ranked third at 37.0 percent. A Ministry of Strategy and Finance official in charge of dealing with OECD reports said the healthy condition for Koreans and Japanese seems to be due to traditionally vegetarian diets for the Asian countries.



By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]


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