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Obesity in Brazil Increases 60% over The Last 10 Years despite Halt in 2016

04/18/2017 - 12h42

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NATÁLIA CANCIAN
FROM BRASÍLIA

According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Health, obesity in Brazil has increased 60% over the last 10 years. In 2016, 18.9% of Brazilians were considered obese. Back in 2006, the figure was 11.8%.

While on the one hand, obesity has increased considerably over the past few years, the study suggests that the war against the condition may be starting to yield some results. This has been inferred due to a halt in the rise of obesity levels in 2016.

The scenario is similar when taking into consideration the number of Brazilians considered overweight: while 53.9% of Brazilians were considered overweight in 2015, in 2016 the number of overweight Brazilians went down slightly to 53.8%.

A person is considered overweight if their BMI (body mass index, which is measured by dividing a person's weight by their height raised to the second power) is 25 kg/m². A person is considered obese if their BMI is 30kg/m² or higher.

The data indicates that obesity is twice as likely to occur once a person reaches the age of 25, and is more common among the less educated.

According to the Ministry of Health, several factors have contributed to the rise in obesity. "We have data that demonstrates that those who consume highly processed foods are more likely to become obese. Psychological factors, stress, the difficulty to take [healthy] foods to work and lack of exercise can also contribute", said Michele Lessa, the foods and nutrition coordinator at the ministry.

The study interviewed a total of 53,210 people who were 18 or older in all of Brazil's state capitals between February and December of 2016.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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