U.S. to become fattest country in 33-member OECD: report

12:36, September 24, 2010      

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The United States will be " the fattest country" in the 33-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by 2020, the group said in a report published by HealthDay News on Thursday.

In 10 years, a full 75 percent of Americans will be overweight unless the government, individuals and industry cooperate on a comprehensive strategy to combat the epidemic, the report noted.

With more and more people becoming overweight, the U.S. will be burdened with associated increases in disease rates and health care spending, the report said.

The cost in dollars of obesity, including higher health care spending and lost production, is already equivalent to one percent of the country's total gross domestic product, the report said.

These costs could rise two or threefold over the coming years, said the report.

Currently, about 70 percent of Americans are overweight, compared with well under 50 percent in 1980, according to the report.

The report cited unhealthy eating and lack of physical activity as the major reasons for the increasing numbers of overweight people.

"Food is much cheaper than in the past, in particular food that is not particularly healthy, and people are changing their lifestyles, they have less time to prepare meals and are eating out more in restaurants," said Franco Sassi, the OECD senior health economist who authored the report.

That plus the fact that people are much less physically active than in the past, Sassi said.

The lifespan of an obese person is up to 8-10 years shorter than that of a normal-weight person, the same loss of lifespan incurred by smoking, the report said.

Citizens of the world's richest countries are getting fatter and fatter and the United States is leading the charge, according to the report.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王千原雪)

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