Obesity concerns in Japan

24 percent of Japanese aged 15 and older are believed to be overweight, compared to about 65 percent of adults in the United States.

Read more here.

Obesity is a known risk factor for several disorders, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems (asthma) and musculoskeletal diseases (arthritis). It has several causes, too, including excessive calorie consumption, lack of physical activity, genetic predisposition and disorders of the endocrine system of glands that produces the hormones necessary for normal bodily functions, like metabolism and growth. OECD is noting that this is indeed becoming a "growing problem", according to the OECD Observer.

I'm a little unsure about the OECD statistics from 1999, when obesity rates in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, as well as France, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland remained in the 10% area, and 3% in Korea and Japan in 2001, compared to a high of 31% in the United States. Pretty confusing? It seems different countries measure obesity in different ways. For example, WHO notes that more than 1 billion adults are overweight - and at least 300 million of them are clinically obese. WHO says current obesity levels range from below 5% in China, Japan and certain African nations, to over 75% in urban Samoa. But even in relatively low prevalence countries like China, rates are almost 20% in some cities. Read WHO's information here.

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