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Alarming Increase in Obesity In China

An editorial published in the British Medical Journal has noted that there has been an alarming increase in the obese and overweight individuals in China.//China now accounts for one fifth of the world's population in this condition.

Factors like changes in food habits, changes in lifestyle, and reduced physical activity have been attributed to being responsible for this problem.

About 184 million people were estimated to be overweight and another 31 billion people were estimated to be obese according to the National Nutrition And Health Survey in China in 2002. Between 1985 and 2000, there has been a 28-fold increase in overweight and 4-fold increase in obese children aged 7-18 according to China’s national surveys on school children.

Wu Yangfeng at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing referring to the survey has written in the editorial that "China was once considered to have one of the leanest populations, but it is fast catching up with the west,” and adds that “disturbingly, this has occurred in a remarkably short time."

Professor Wu has noted that China's epidemic of overweight and obesity poses a considerable public health problem and has suggested lifestyle education and control of obesity as a goal in China's framework and policy on health as possible ways of tackling the problem.

Tony Barnett, Head of the Diabetes and Obesity group at Birmingham University said "I think we are seeing this in virtually every country in the world. Interestingly, it is not just the developed world, but increasingly it's the developing world as well."


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