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One in four Germans officially obese

The Local · 15 Jun 2012, 09:11

Published: 15 Jun 2012 09:11 GMT+02:00

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The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Berlin-based government health agency, made the discovery after doing two four-year studies, one in the late 1990s and the other between 2008 and 2012.

The results showed that not only were more people obese, but the number of obese young people had risen significantly.

In 1998, 19 percent of men and 22.5 percent of women had a BMI of over 30 – which officially defining them as obese.

By 2012 though, this had climbed to around 23 percent of both men and women.

“The number of young adults who are obese has gone up particularly,” said study director Bärbel-Maria Kurth on Thursday. She added that the team found that the higher a person's wage or academic qualifications, the less likely it was that they would be obese.

This part of the results prompted Health Minister Daniel Bahr to say that measures to prevent obesity must be targeted at specific demographic groups. He explained that previous campaigns to raise awareness of being overweight have worked for the higher-earners, but been less successful in talking to other social groups.

While obesity levels have risen, the amount of people classed just as overweight has decreased slightly, with 67 percent of men and 53 percent of women boasting a BMI of over 25.

Germany's widening girth is having a knock-on effect in other areas of the nation's health. Diabetes, for instance, is on the rise.

The study, which assessed 7,000 over-18s both times it was carried out, found that the percent of Germans suffering from the disease has risen from 5.2 percent to 7.2 percent. Groups most affected seemed to be women under 40 and men over 70 and 4.6 million people now live with diabetes in Germany.

Story continues below…

Interestingly though, the number of Germans who told the RKI that they were doing exercise at least once a week had gone up considerably since 1998. Nearly 52 percent of men and 49 percent of women said that they worked up a sweat regularly.

But despite best efforts, only half of men and less than 15 percent of women who said they were exercising were meeting the World Health Organisation's recommended weekly amount – 2.5 hours.

DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:06 June 15, 2012 by William Thirteen
i suspect the figure is somewhat higher for readers of this website!
11:11 June 15, 2012 by reichefraufinden
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:15 June 15, 2012 by Bigfoot76
William Thirteen said "i suspect the figure is somewhat higher for readers of this website! " while eating his jelly filled donut.

Possible link to the increase in American fast food establishments? Cheap and terrible, Mcdonalds, KFC and BurgerKing are great if you want to be the size of a whale. Subway is slightly better as long as people stay away from the chips, cookies and cola.
11:45 June 15, 2012 by William Thirteen
ich bin ein Berliner!
12:13 June 15, 2012 by lucksi
Ich will einen Berliner. Or a dozen of them.
12:13 June 15, 2012 by LiberalGuy
And according to the BMI index, all of the New Zealand All Blacks are obese.

I think I'm going to have another bratwurst.
14:26 June 15, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
The article says this is a "disease." I wonder if it is infectuous or contagious?

LiberalGuy - I would learn the answer first before munching on another tube steak!

Maybe we should all sterilize our hands with Isopropyl Alcohol before eating?

Ohh somebedy help me... before I go eat lunch and maybe catch this disease!
15:12 June 15, 2012 by raandy
That figure one out of fout seems high to me.

I certainly see over weight people on the streets of Berlin, not every fourth one.


When I have traveled in the USA this figure in my opinion is way low.It looks like every other person is over weight. They claim 30% are obese according to the controversial BMI index.
15:21 June 15, 2012 by catjones
Bigfoot76....time to grow up and stop blaming others for your own short-comings. For you the germans are always the victims.
15:25 June 15, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Raandy - The distribution of fat people is not a "normal" distribution across all segments of society.

There are proportionally more fat people in country villages than in large urban areas (where people must walk more, food is more expensive, more stress, etc.)

Also there are general geographic differences (agricultural areas tend to be heavier from eating more brats and beer and cheese and schweine haxe).

Hence you would not see your quota of fat people in Berlin.
16:04 June 15, 2012 by raandy
Good point, but do you think with all that diversity through out the Nation those stats are accurate?
16:55 June 15, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Raandy - I am going to infer / deduce they are accurate regarding surveying across all "segments" because they said efforts must be targeted at specific demographic segments to correct the disease.

Also, they do quote changes in BMI across various demographic groups between the two four-year studies which reenforces that.

So... it's likley accurate.
17:23 June 15, 2012 by Bigfoot76
catjones What are you talking about? Please explain what you think my shortcomings are. Then explain why you are so offended about me stating that there are more fast foot establishments for people in this country to eat at. Is it my shortcomings we are talking about here or yours? I look forward to your response, once you put down your big mac.
18:36 June 15, 2012 by hankeat
After civilization, comes monsterization.
19:43 June 15, 2012 by Lisa Rusbridge
It's not rocket science. For the most part it's personal choice, with the exception of the situations where there are medical issues involved for example thyroid problems, mobility issues, etc.

It works like this: put down the beer, processed meats and caffeine. You don't need any of it. High fructose corn syrup in soda is poison. Cut back on gluten containing foods. Eat mostly fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Drink water with lemon and keep moving. A little bit of dietary fat and a little bit of sweet deserts goes a long way . Never super-size anything or you will become super-sized! Don't forgot the 72% (or more) dark cacoa bars as a treat. One bar last me more than an entire week! If you eat better, you will eat less and naturally be thinner.

As much as people want to blame McDonald's in order to avoid personal responsibility, it's all about choice. The sooner people realize that, the better!
19:56 June 15, 2012 by Bilderberg
My opinion is that, in general, Germans are significantly more health conscious than Americans, as a nation. In America people so often believe that finding time to go to the fitness club is what prevents them from maintaining their weight. Yet, they choose to live in communities far from their work, often too far to bike or walk. That being said, they also choose not to walk to a public transport location , take the public transport, and then walk 1- 12 or more blocks to their work. Instead, they spend an hour to three hours sitting in their cars, stuck in slow moving traffic. Silly choice, really. Many Americans choose to eat out 4-5 times weekly because they don't have time or energy to prepare an evening meal. REALLY? Wonderful salads can be prepared ahead of time and wonderful meals can be made, while you work, in a crockpot. Planning for good health and being willing to get out of the automobile are two factors that impact Americans negatively.

I think that in general Germans are more willing to walk.....a simple thing to do, but not a QUICK thing to do.

Obesity is as obesity does.......food and exercise decisions are of the utmost importance.
20:22 June 15, 2012 by Leo Strauss
@ hankeat

I am both intrigued and terrified, still I have to ask: What comes after monsterization? I think you are on to something here. :)

@Lisa Rusbridge

You are a beacon of sanity. :) For all those here in D-Land who are concerned about high fructose corn syrup, here is how it is classified and labelled on products:

Nach der deutschen Zuckerartenverordnung muss ein Glucosesirup, der mehr als 5 Prozent Fructose des Gewichts in der Trockenmasse enthält, als ¦quot;Glucose-Fructose-Sirup¦quot; bezeichnet werden. Enthält der Sirup einen Fructoseanteil von mehr als 50 %, so muss er entsprechend als ¦quot;Fructose-Glucose-Sirup¦quot; bezeichnet werden.

Bottom line, if you see `Fructose` in this configuration then Finger weg.

About a year ago I started cutting back on gluten (Glutin), wheat products like bread and pasta as well as even beer :( I upped my intake of veggies and fruits and replaced a lot of the other stuff with rice products. With this diet I feel satisfied with less, powered-up and don`t snack. Don`t know how much weight I have lost (no scales) but have really noticed the difference around the waist.

I would only like to add one thing to your list to avoid and that is Aspartame. This stuff is death. Check out products carefully cuz it is in everything.

Also, isn`t a little caffeine OK? Max 3 cups per day?

I also seem to be under the impression that the fast food in Germany is more strictly controlled than in the states. No silicon foam in the McNuggets here, for example. No GMOs... but that`s a whole other topic.

Later y`all
20:45 June 15, 2012 by catjones
The fact is if every 'American' fast food place closed tomorrow, germans would remain obese. Who to blame then Bigfoot76?
21:09 June 15, 2012 by puisoh
'the higher a person's wage or academic qualifications, the less likely it was that they would be obese' ...

Having already all the lovely comments above, I must add that eating well does not come exactly cheap. I once saw a documentary when the financial crisi hit the US in 2008, a lady said she was a vegetarian but since she lost her job, she could not afford to buy fruits and veggies and rely on fast/ready meals which was mostly not vegetarian.

I agree with Leo Strauss, cut the gluten, manage your food and I actually reduced 10kg in 1 year .. not alot but better than nothing.
21:10 June 15, 2012 by marimay
I believe that would be true as well, cat. Germans eat more bread than any country in the world. Processed pork products and sugar contributes to their problem. Avoiding processed grains and sugar will keep most people at a decent weight.
21:11 June 15, 2012 by Lisa Rusbridge
@ Leo Strauss,

Thank you! :-) Yeah, it's pretty simple really!

I didn't mention apartame because it's not even on my radar, I would never touch the stuff, so I just plain forgot about it. The HFCS is processed differently by the body than sugar -- there are theories that once it was approved in the 1970s by the FDA that this is was the genesis of the US's national weight crisis. It's also a subsidized crop by the federal government, so there's a lot of money at stake in poisoning Americans and just making them sicker and sicker with each passing year.

I don't think caffeine in balance will do too much harm, but 3 cups kind of sounds like a lot ;-). I do drink black (english breakfast) tea on occasion.

Like you I'm gluten free. I can make/bake anything gluten free, even traditional foods and no one can tell the difference, which is the real sign of an excellent gluten free product. That does take some years of practice though. I'm a huge fan of brown rice and agree with you that it goes better with most foods, but there is brown rice pasta. One excellent brand that I use is called "Tinkyada" -- it's from Canada. It doesn't fall apart and disintergrate in the boiling water like so many other brands do.

When I want to shock people I tell them I've never tasted beer in my life. ;-), so sorry about your cutting back on beer. The good news is that the resveratrol in red wine is very good for you, so you can always have a glass of wine with dinner. :-)

Cheers :-)
21:41 June 15, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Fruits and veggies are cheaper than meat but not as calorie or nutrient dense.

A handfull of a vegetable may have 100 - 150 calories. A handful of meat... 400? 500? calories? That is probably what the lady meant when she could not afford vegetables any more in that she needed more calories (albeit less healthy ones).

Beans / legumes are the cheapest food of all. But, then we must consider the impact to global warming.
22:29 June 15, 2012 by Leo Strauss

Thanks for taking the time and for sharing some tips. You`re right, it does take time to find all of the gluten-free products and then figuring out how to prepare them so that they are tasty. Will keep my eyes open for Tinkyada- the health food stores in my city here in Germany are pretty good and may have it. Have subbed in wine and a little vodka for the beer but do miss it along with bread and pasta... :(


You`re right- a tight budget does make it hard to eat well. The difference in quality and selection that one sees here between the products at discount stores like Aldi and Rewe, and then at better ones like Edeka and Konsum is very noticeable.

Good to hear that dropping gluten worked out for you.

Anyone reading this should try to go a month without it to see how they feel.
00:00 June 16, 2012 by Bigfoot76
Catjones, first no where in my statements have I taken the blame away from the People. My statement says there are more fast food places now than before.

"Possible link to the increase in American fast food establishments? Cheap and terrible, Mcdonalds, KFC and BurgerKing are great if you want to be the size of a whale. Subway is slightly better as long as people stay away from the chips, cookies and cola"

We have the choice to go in or not go in. But if you are walking hungry and you are surrounded by nothing but fast food, doesn't that increase the chances you will eat something you normally would stay away from?

If they serve it, people will have a choice of eating it. If they stop serving it, the people have no choice then. Imagine a Mcdonalds which offered more choices that were not deep fried or had no fructose. I would like a place where I could order a turkey sandwich, an apple and bottle of water. Now what would Germany be like if you could do that at these restaurants? Would the US which ranks number one for amount of Mcdonalds and also ranks number one for obesity still be in the same situation? Well maybe, I mean GW...explain that.
02:46 June 16, 2012 by schneebeck
@lisarusbridge #15

"It works like this: put down the beer, processed meats and caffeine."

Do we have to drink less bier? Giving up German beer is asking way too much.

Now that high fructose corn stuff is for sure a poison. It's in everything though.

Does the McDöner franchise have anything to do with obesity in Germany? If American culture has anything to do with an obesity problem in Germany, then here's how the Americans do it:

Too much meat.

Too much automobile.

Too much TV.

Too much internet.

Try to avoid the above if that's the problem.

And for Pete's sake! Don't let a child's diet consist of soda, potato chips, and McDonald's.

Americans are huuuuuuuuge!! For sure it's an American who holds the Guiness record for the world's largest backside. It's downright frightening!

"Monsterization" for sure! (@hankeat #14)
09:20 June 16, 2012 by Bilderberg
Yes, Americans are very HUGE! Even jtheir soldiers are massive in size generally. When I look at photos from the 1950-1960 period from the US and compare the size of US people in those photos to current day photos it is downright frightening. That is not to say that there isn't far too much obesity in Germany also, but Americans are simply massive. If you look at the US press photos that go aling with many news stories you will often see people who are the size of three people. Do whatever you can to stay slim. Avoiding high fructose corn syrup is a must! Also avoid MSG and nutria sweet.......neurotoxins!!!!!!!
09:38 June 16, 2012 by ND1000
After reading the article and comments Im a bit confused. Why is it when there is any bad news on here about Germany people feel compelled to somehow bring America into the argument? Germans are fat, thats a fact, what does that have to do with America? A better article would be about Germans sick competition with the U.S. and how Americans could care less about the competition with Germany. Also, if you are looking for pictures of fat Americans on the internet you will find them. You can find pictures of fat people from any nationality. There are plenty of fit good looking people in the U.S, they are everywhere. Sorry Germans, leave Americans out the argument.
11:58 June 16, 2012 by Leo Strauss

If we are talking about fast food and obesity then America is definitely relevant to this discussion. All the of the international top fast food chains are American. They were founded in the US, are American owned some of the first corporations that penetrate any market. They are the big red and floppy McBoots on the ground.

Americans are the most obese people on the planet.

The article is about obesity in Germany and so comparisons with the Gold Medalist are inevitable. As Bilderberg points out, the US are soldiers huge; however you could put a squad of these big soldiers behind one monsterized APC-sized American civilian and then storm a strong point.

On the other hand, I find that McDonalds is one thing that every German likes to bring up when it is time to have some fun with `the Ami` or to feel superior. In this way, they are a little bit like Canadians and others who like to take pot shots at the Yanks without too much self-reflection.

Oh well, I guess that is a small price to pay for fast-food full spectrum dominance. :)
12:52 June 16, 2012 by DinhoPilot
@Bigfoot76 #24

You can buy water and apples, fruit salada from McDonalds as far as I know. They actually do have healtier offerings. Sorry that excuse doesn't work ^^

Not everytime I go to Mac I feel the urge to eat a Big Mac, huge cola & a chips army. Neither they have a gun pointed at me, forcing me to go there.
16:21 June 16, 2012 by Bigfoot76
DinhoPilot said "You can buy water and apples, fruit salada from McDonalds as far as I know. They actually do have healtier offerings. Sorry that excuse doesn't work"

What excuse are you referring to? Let me point out the key words you missed in my post.

Imagine a Mcdonalds which offered MORE choices that were not deep fried or had no fructose. I would like a place where I could order a TURKEY SANDWICH, an apple and bottle of water.

When I see MORE than a handful of items on a fastfood menu that are healthy choices I will be very surprised. Again as I have already stated it is still about the choice of the consumer but the advertisement industry is a sly animal and works hard to lure people. That is why Mcdonalds in particular is seen very often and why so many of there restaurants claim "Billions and billions served".
21:06 June 16, 2012 by catjones
FootInMouth...guess what? We took a vote. McDonalds won and Turkey-Apple-Water lost. Imagine that.
00:53 June 17, 2012 by Bigfoot76
Congratulations Catjones, trolling a public news site is a fantastic accomplishment.

"McDonalds won and Turkey-Apple-Water lost" It does not surprise me which you choose. I am sorry this story is so offensive to you.
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