Study Shows Germans Getting Heavier | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 06.06.2006
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Germany

Study Shows Germans Getting Heavier

A new report shows that Germans are getting fatter. About one half of the population is overweight.

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Men are more likely to be overweight

Maybe it is one too many bratwursts. Or maybe the beer. But whatever the reason, Germans on the average are getting wider, according to a study by the Federal Office of Statistics released this week.

The study found that 58 percent of men and 42 percent of women carry around too much weight, an increase of two percent from 1999. Married people and former smokers are those most likely to be overweight.

The study used body mass index (BMI), which calculates body fat based on height and weight, to determine if a person is overweight. Gender and age are irrelevant. The World Health Organization considers a BMI score of over 25 to be overweight and 30 seriously obese. For example, a man who is 1.8 meters tall and is 81 kilograms is considered overweight -- at 97 kilograms, obese.

A problem of the young and old

In Germany, 14 percent of men and 13 percent of women in general are extremely overweight. In the 65 to 70 year-old age group, that number increases to 20.7 percent of men and 21 percent of women.

Obesity is already a widespread problem among young adults and in all age groups are men more likely to be overweight than women. In the 20-24 age range, 26 percent of men and 16 percent of women are packing too much. The highest rates of obesity were for men between 65 and 69 and women from 70 to 74 years of age -- 74 percent and 64 percent respectively.

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Marital status also seems to play a role. More than 60 percent of married and widowed men were overweight compared to 39 percent of their single counterparts. Widowed women were more likely to be overweight than married women -- 56 percent and 45 percent respectively. Only 23 percent of single women were overweight but eight percent were actually underweight.

Another group more likely to be carrying extra pounds: ex-smokers. Among them, 71 percent are considered overweight compared with 51 percent of current smokers. People who registered as underweight were uncommon: overall only four percent of women and one percent of men weighed too little. However, 14 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 19 need to eat more.

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