Health policies and data

Obesity and the Economics of Prevention: Fit not Fat - Korea Key Facts


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1. Obesity rates in Korea are among the lowest in the OECD, but have been increasing steadily. About 4% of the adult population is obese in Korea, and about 30% are overweight (including obese). OECD projections indicate that overweight rates will increase by a further 5% within ten years.


Past and projected overweight rates

Underlying data and charts for all the graphics below are also available in Excel


2. Large socio-economic disparities in obesity exist in women in Korea. Women with poor education are 5 times more likely than more educated women to be overweight. Virtually no disparities exist between men of different educational levels.


Relative Index of Inequality in Overweight by Education level




3. Child obesity rates are relatively high in Korea, especially in boys. OECD projections show a likely slight decrease of overweight and a stabilisation of child obesity over the next 10 years.


Past and projected rates of child obesity and overweight, age 3-17, in Korea


4. Children with obese parents are far more likely to be obese themselves. Boys are about 3 times more likely to be obese, and girls are almost 6 times more likely, if they have at least one obese parent.


Odds ratios of child obesity by parents' obesity status in Korea

5. Socio-economic disparities in obesity are not apparent in children. Contrary to most OECD countries, boys in the most disadvantaged socio-economic groups are less likely to be obese than children in higher socio-economic groups.


Social disparities in child obesity in Korea


Note: SEC: Socio-economic condition.


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