Germans getting fatter, statistics show

Germans are getting fatter, official figures showed on Wednesday, with 51 percent of adults in Europe's most populous country now classed as overweight.

Sixty percent of men and 43 percent of women have a Body Mass Index (BMI) - a measure computing 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, figures from a microcensus conducted in 1999 showed.

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.

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.

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