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Nearly one-third of Korean adults overweight as they consume more fat

All News 09:49 July 18, 2016

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- More South Koreans have become overweight than 10 years ago, with their daily calorie intake now exceeding the recommended amount, a study showed Monday.

Conducted by the livestock economic research center of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Nonghyup), the study found 31.5 percent of South Koreans aged 19 and over were overweight as of the end of 2014. This is an increase from 30.3 percent in 2001. People with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or above are categorized as overweight.

The average daily calorie intake was 2,063 in 2014, up from 1,881 in 2001, according to the study. The latest figure exceeds the daily recommended intake of 2,000 calories for an adult.

The Nonghyup study said the weight gain likely came from the Westernized diet that tends to be greasier, and more people dining out rather than eating home-cooked meals.

Among the three main nutrients, carbohydrates accounted for 64.5 percent of the intake, down 1.1 percentage points, and protein 14.5 percent, down 0.6 percentage point from 2001. But fat intake increased 1.7 percentage points to 20.9 percent, the study showed. In detailed terms, a South Korean adult consumed 98.27 grams of fat on an average day in 2014, compared with 83.9 grams in 2001, it said.

The amount of vegetable fat in the diet had visibly increased, up from 58.2 grams in 2001 to 68.5 grams in 2014, equal to 70 percent of total fat intake. By comparison, consumption of animal fat increased only slightly from 25.7 g to 29.8 g.

Hwang Myoung-chul, head of the research center, said South Koreans were following the same pattern as the Japanese in their eating habits.

"In the past when excessive weight was a social issue in Japan, vegetable fat was named the No. 1 cause. The dietary change in South Korea is showing a similar pattern," he said.

"The government has started a campaign against sugar consumption to prevent obesity and diabetes. We also need efforts to reduce the increasing fat consumption."

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