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Healthy diet? A quarter of Spaniards are obese

Jessica Jones · 30 Jun 2015, 11:22

Published: 30 Jun 2015 11:22 GMT+02:00

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Spaniards might not be as healthy as they, or the world at large, think, obesity figures released by the World Health Organization show.

Often lauded for their healthy Mediterranean diet of oily fish, olive oil and fresh vegetables, Spaniards have one of the highest life expectancies in the world.

But the WHO figures from 2014, which appear in a report on Tuesday in Catalan daily newspaper La Vanguardia, shed light on a growing problem in Spain as people struggle with their weight.

The figures show that 22.8 percent of Spanish men are obese while among Spanish women the figure is even higher 24.7 at percent.

When taken on average, the percentage of Spaniards who are obese is 23.7 percent giving putting them at number 48 on the global obesity rate.

It is the Pacific region, specifically several polynesian islands in the south Pacific, where the highest rates of obesity are recorded. The record for the most obese nation goes to the Cook Islands, where over half of all inhabitants are obese.

Of more populated countries, the United States, Qatar and Kuwait have the highest obesity levels: 42.3 percent of Qataris are obese, while 39.7 percent of Kuwaitis and 34.7 percent of Saudis are obese.

In the US, 33.7 percent of Americans are obese, while for Brits, the figure is 28.1 percent. 

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The data also includes figures for the number of overweight people by country, revealing that 66.2 percent of Spaniards are overweight, compared to 72.1 percent of Americans and 78 percent of Qataries. 

WHO predicted the situation in Spain to only get worse in the coming years in a report last month, projecting that by 2030 more than half of Spaniards will be overweight.

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Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

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