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More People Than Ever Overweight, Obese In Developed Countries, OECD Report Says

“More people in developed countries are overweight or obese than ever before, dooming them to years of ill health, pushing up health care costs and piling more pressure on health systems, a report [.pdf] by the OECD found on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. Though the report found that obesity rates are diverse – “from a low of four percent in Japan and Korea to 30 percent or more in the United States and Mexico” – “in more than half of the 34 OECD countries, at least one in two people is now overweight or obese, and rates are projected to rise further,” according to the news agency.

The report, an update to the OECD’s 2010 report on the economics of obesity prevention titled “Fit Not Fat,” found that “obesity rates slowed or stopped growing in England, Hungary, Italy, Korea and Switzerland, and grew by only two to three percent in France and Spain,” but rose by four to five percent in in Canada, Ireland and the United States, Reuters notes (Kelland, 2/21). The report also says that obesity is an inequality issue, as women with lower levels of education are more likely to be overweight than well-educated women, according to an OECD press release. “For men, money doesn’t help — there’s little difference in the obesity rates of the rich and the poor,” the press release states (2/21).