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South Koreans are getting taller, obesity rates up among men, government study says

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  • A survey conducted by the The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy's National Institute of Technology and Standards evaluating the body mass indexes (BMI) of Korean populations found that half of Korean men are considered obese.

  • The survey results, released on March 30, also showed that the average height of Korean men and women has increased over the past 40 years.

  • The average BMI for Korean men rose to 24.9.

  • The survey results also showed that the average height increased by 2.5 inches among men and 2.1 inches for women.

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A survey conducted in South Korea found that the average heights of Korean men and women, as well as the obesity rate among men, have increased over the past 40 years.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy’s National Institute of Technology and Standards conducted the “8th Korean Human Body Size Survey,” released on March 30, analyzing the weights and heights of the country’s population by gender. 

The study is the world’s only national data project that measures the body sizes and weights of Koreans and has been conducted every five years since 1979.

The study used measurements of 430 participants from a random selection of 6,839 men and women aged 20 to 69.

The survey concluded that the average height of Koreans had increased substantially since the Ministry began conducting them in 1979. Korean men’s average height had increased by 2.5 inches while women’s increased by 2.1 inches. The results showed that men averaged to be 5’8,” while women were at 5’3”.

One finding was that leg length ratios had also increased across all age groups, contributing to the increase in height averages.

It was also found that the average weight among Korean men has increased over the past 40 years, with 47% now considered obese at an average BMI of 24.9, compared to 22.1 in 1979. Women, however, maintained a similar BMI score to the 1979 average of 22.0 at 22.6 this year.

According to the BMI index, those who have a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered obese, while 23 to 24.9 is considered overweight.

Waist circumference was also found to have increased across all age groups for men, while women showed a decrease among all age groups except for those in their twenties.

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