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Each fifth Russia suffers from obesity - media

January 14, 3:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The number of obesity cases has been growing in the past decade. Thus, 23% of Russians suffered from obesity in 2005, and 25.3% - in 2012
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MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/, Each fifth Russian suffers from obesity, the Izvestia daily said on Thursday citing Russia’s chief nutrition expert.

"Now, about 60% of women and 50% of men in Russia older than 30 are overweight. About 26% of Russians suffer from obesity," Viktor Tutelyan, director of the Nutrition Research Institute and the Russian Health Ministry’s chief nutritionist, said in an interview with the newspaper.

He said citing a recent study that most of overweight Russians were living in the country’s western and Urals regions whereas the further eastward the more slim people were.

The number of obesity cases has been growing in the past decade. Thus, 23% of Russians suffered from obesity in 2005, and 25.3% - in 2012.

The study was built on the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. The BMI is defined as the body mass divided by the square of the body height, and is universally expressed in units of kg/m2, resulting from mass in kilograms and height in meters. Commonly accepted BMI ranges are underweight: under 18.5, normal weight: 18.5 to 25, overweight: 25 to 30, obese: over 30.

Among the most "obese" regions are the Kaluga region, with 33% of residents suffering from obesity, the Moscow (30%) and Nizhny Novgorod (28%) regions, the Krasnodar (27%) and Altai (27%) Territories.

The most "slim" regions include the republic of Udmurtia (12% of the obese), the Orenburg region (17%), the Krasnoyarsk (17%) and Primorsky (18%) Territories, and the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria (19%).

Tutelyan said the study had involved about 15,000-20,000 families. "It was a representative selection," he said, adding the study had not included data on the Crimean federal district.

Earlier, Tutelyan said obesity was the primary disease caused by eating. In his words, of special concern was obesity in children. About five to six percent of children under two are obese.

"We all don’t eat enough vegetables and fruits but eat too much fat rich in calories. At the same time, we don’t have enough micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, biologically active substances," he said.

The expert recalled that back in the Soviet era much attention had been paid to the problem of healthy eating. Thus, under the government resolution flour was fortified by vitamins and folic acid, and salt was iodinated. "Now, the situation has changed, with market ruling the roost," he noted.

"Healthy eating should be the subject of concern from the very first days of pregnancy. Even the slightest nutritional disturbance in a mother is a blow to a future Russian national, a blow to the future of the nation," he stressed.

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