Nearly 1 in 3 South Korean adults are ‘obese,’ says government

Nearly 1 in 3 South Korean adults are ‘obese,’ says governmentNearly 1 in 3 South Korean adults are ‘obese,’ says government
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Michelle De Pacina
October 19, 2023
Nearly one in three South Korean adults are considered “obese,” according to data released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Obese category: On Wednesday, KDCA announced the results of the obesity rate reports submitted by each local government. The analysis revealed that obesity appears to be more pronounced among men in their 30s, with over half in the age group (51.4%) falling into the obese category.  
The term “obesity” encompasses those classified as overweight, obese and extremely obese. The obesity rate, which refers to those with a body mass index (BMI) over 25, reached 32.5% for all South Korean adults last year, marking a 0.3%-point increase from 2021.
Obesity rate by gender: In terms of gender, 40.2% of men were classified as obese, compared to 22.1% of women. The obesity rate for women increased gradually with age, with those aged in their 70s having the highest obesity rate at 30.6%. 
Obesity rate by region: The obesity rates in South Korea also varied by region, with Jeju Island having the highest obesity rate at 36.5% and the city of Sejong having the lowest at 27.5%. Out of 17 cities and provinces, 13 saw an increase in obesity rates compared to the previous year, with Ulsan experiencing the largest increase of 2.4%, reaching 33.4%.
Reasons for obesity: According to the KDCA, sedentary work and less physical activity are the reasons for higher obesity rates among Korean men in their 30s.
“Not many people are aware of the risk of obesity, but it could develop into critical diseases,” KDCA Commissioner Jee Young-mee said, according to The Korea Times. “People should stay alert and take care of their bodies consistently by having a healthy diet and exercising regularly.”
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