Daily US Times: Over half of Chinese adults, or more than half a billion people, are now overweight, an official study has found.
The figures have risen significantly since 2002, when 29% of Chinese adults were overweight.
China’s rapid economic growth in recent decades has led to major changes to lifestyle, exercise habits and diet.
The Chinese government unveiled plans in October to tackle rising levels of obesity.
A higher body mass increases the risk for a number of diseases including stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
The issue of obesity has come under renewed focus during the coronavirus pandemic as studies showed that obese or overweight individuals are more likely to suffer severe complications or death from Covid-19.
The National Health Commission report, released on Wednesday, found that more than 50% of adults in China are classified as overweight, of whom 16.4% are obese.
The report blamed decreasing levels of physical activity for China’s expanding waistlines, with less than a quarter of the adult population exercising at least once a week.
A low consumption of fruit and a growing appetite for meat were also identified as factors behind the rise.
Wang Dan, a nutritionist in the city of Harbin, told the AFP news agency that many Chinese adults now “exercise too little, are under too much pressure, and have an unhealthy work schedule”.
China is not the only country to have seen an increase in the number of obese or overweight people in recent years.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported earlier this year that levels of obesity across the world had tripled since 1975, including in low and middle-income countries.
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