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Germany is getting fatter

AFP/The Local · 2 Jun 2010, 14:20

Published: 02 Jun 2010 14:20 GMT+02:00

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Sixty percent of men and 43 percent of women have a Body Mass Index (BMI) - a measure calculated by body weight and height - of more than 25, up from 56 percent and 40 percent respectively in 1999, the statistics office said.

Some 16 percent of men and 14 percent of women are classified as obese with a BMI of more than 30.

A person’s BMI is their weight in kilogrammes divided by the square of their height in metres. For example, an adult who is 1.8 metres tall is overweight if they are above 81 kilograms and very overweight – or obese – if they are more than 97 kilograms.

Overweight becomes more common with increasing age. In the 20 to 24 year age group, some 29 percent of men and 18 percent of women are overweight. Among Germans aged 70 to 74, however, the figure climbs to 74 percent of men and 63 percent of women.

Men are more obese than women in all age groups.

Marriage is also a factor. Some 69 percent of married men are overweight, compared with 43 percent of single men. For women, being widowed is the strongest indicator, with 58 percent of widows overweight. Some 46 percent of married women are overweight compared with 25 percent of singles.

The figures compare unfavourably with those in France, where 38.5 percent of men and 26 percent of women are overweight, but Germans are clearly thinner than Britons.

Data from Britain's National Heart Forum in February suggested that eight out of 10 men and nearly seven out of 10 women in England will be too fat by 2020, with 41 percent of men forecast to be obese.

Nearly 20 percent of US children between the ages of six and 19 are estimated to suffer from obesity, which can encourage diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems.

Story continues below…

And in China, there are more than 60 million obese people, and another 200 million who are overweight, according to a Chinese health ministry statement in November that cited a 2004 nationwide survey.

In the German figures, some 7 percent of single women were considered underweight – meaning they have a BMI of 18.5.

Young women were most likely to be underweight – with 13 percent of 18 to 19-year-olds, and 9 percent of 20 to 24-year-olds, considered to be below the healthy weight range.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:16 June 2, 2010 by darwiniandemon
Agreed with the out-dated BMI nonsense. Next they will tell us the superior sound quality of vinyl vs CDs!
18:57 June 2, 2010 by Giza The Cat
Hallo Germany!

Could the "weighty" issues plaguing Germany be the result of an aging population? Here in the USA the aging Baby Boomers are heavier than they were thirty or forty years ago. The Boomers are still a large demographic in the USA and have gotten quite "large". I know Germany had a "Baby Boom" that began several years after the USA Boom began. It would interesting to see the demo stats on the oldest German "Boomers" who would be in their mid fifties by now. My first husband was a German fellow born in October of 1945, and he told me that the first eight to ten years after WW2 there weren't many kids born because everyone was still struggling to rebuild and that the German "Boom" began around 1953 or so.

Was the German weight study done on ethnic Germans alone, or did the study look at non-ethnic Germans and German residents from non-European ethnic groups? It would be interesting to see how the numbers break down ethnic lines.
00:07 June 3, 2010 by Joshontour
BMI is no accurate measurement of obesity... If some who has very little body fat at 185 cm weighs 100kg solid muscle mass would measure their BMI it would come out to be 30 and they would count as obese. Body fat % was the standard measure for years, I can't imagine why they changed to BMI as a measure of obesity.
07:14 June 3, 2010 by pepsionice
A comment on this BMI scale....I watched this unfold in the Air Force. My co-worker was in great shape and worked out four times a week. You would look at the guy and say physically...he was in great shape....but he was 3 percent over the BMI range allowed. Everyone looked at the guy and this didn't make any sense....but he was put on a four-month work-out and lose weight program. The trouble was that he lost twelve pounds and barely took off 1 percent from his original issue. We had to get him to a special trainer that centered on the expanding of neck muscles and then doing sit-ups. In two weeks....he had the final two percent off and didn't have to lose anymore weight.
17:00 June 9, 2010 by markoer
I agree about the comments on the BMI. If you are muscularly developed the BMI doesn't make sense. There are much more effective - and even simpler to do - measurements, for instance the body fat percentage. A man should be between 10 and 20% and a woman slightly (3-5%) more. A fitness model with six packs abs is generally something around 6-10% if man.

If you go over 20% you are also visibly (overweight (in the sense that your perceived appearance is also of a fat person).
10:32 June 11, 2010 by vjtheking
I admit I'm not the thinnest guy around, but when you look around in the S-Bahn or in a Freizeitpark and see those brothers & sisters of Fat Bastard from Austin Powers, you start to feel good about yourself.. Screw BMI!
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