Taiwan has a higher rate of obesity than many other Asian countries, possibly because Taiwanese are less physically active, Bureau of Health Promotion director-general Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said at a conference yesterday.
Taiwan’s rate of obesity is higher than that of Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand and China, which is “alarming” because obesity is a precursor to serious disease, Chiou said at the 2012 Taiwan-Europe Health Dialogue in Taipei.
The obesity rate in Taiwan is 19.2 percent in men and 16.6 percent in women, she said, far higher than in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, where the rates for males are 6.4 percent, 4.7 percent and 4 percent respectively.
“Although Taiwan did better than the West, the country should still be worried because obesity is one of the risk factors for non-communicable diseases,” she said.
Dubbing Taiwan a “fat Asian country,” Chiou said exercise is needed to improve the population’s overall health. About 68 percent of Taiwanese men and 79 percent of women are not physically active enough, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week, she said.
In addition to promoting regular exercise, Chiou said the government had sought to reverse the trend by creating a supportive environment for healthy eating and active living.
“Our goal is to double the prevalence of adequate physical activity by 2020,” she said.