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UK women top of obesity league, and men are second – EU survey

Figures also reveal that more young people are obese in Britain than any other country in Europe

Nearly a quarter (23.9%) of British women are obese, according to an EU study which found the proportion was the highest out of 19 countries surveyed.

The statistics also showed British men are not far behind, with 22.1% being classed as obese, coming second only to Malta. Weight problems are statistically measured using the body mass index (BMI) of adults, with obesity being defined as a BMI of over 30.

The research, which was based on data from 2008-2009, showed that the proportion of obese people in Europe's adult population varied between 8% and 23.9% for women, and between 7.6% 24.7% for men.

The study, published by the European commission, shows no systematic difference in obesity between men and women – the proportion of obesity was higher in men in 10 member states, higher for women in eight, and equal in one country, Greece. Only 8% of Romanian women are judged to be seriously overweight.

The proportion of obese people tends to increase with age, particularly among women, according to the new figures. The most dramatic differences between the youngest and the oldest age groups of women were in the former Eastern-bloc countries of Latvia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Estonia.

The UK stands out as having a particularly serious obesity problem among the younger generation, with 16.6% of the 18-24 age group showing as obese, with the other countries showing less than 11%.

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