Obesity, hypertension on the increase in S. Korea

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - The risk of obesity, hypertension and diabetes among the South Korean population is rising, possibly due to lack of exercise and excessive sodium intake, the government said in a report released yesterday.

According to a joint report by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence rates of high blood pressure and diabetes in people over 30 years old were 28.5 per cent and 9.8 per cent in 2011, respectively, a slight increase from 26.9 per cent and 9.7 per cent in 2010. The proportion of people over 30 who are obese-defined in Korea as having a body mass index over 25-also grew from 34.2 per cent in 2010 to 34.5 per cent, the report said. The report was based on a survey of 10,000 Koreans over 1 year old.

The study didn't directly refer to the major causes of the illnesses, but pointed out that a lack of exercise and excessive intake of salty food may have contributed to the rising prevalence of those diseases.

The number of people who exercise on a regular basis dropped from 22.4 per cent in 2010 to 19.3 per cent last year, the report said. It also stressed that Koreans are taking 4,800 milligrams of sodium daily, more than twice the maximum intake recommended by the World Health Organisation. The health-care organisation under the United Nations recommends a maximum daily sodium intake of 2,000 milligrams.

The smoking rate among people aged over 19, on the other hand, dropped to 27 per cent last year from 27.5 per cent in 2010.

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