Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Av 5761 - August 8, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Observations: Weighty Problems
by A. Yechiel

A new study by the World Watch Institute in Washington reveals that approximately 1.1 billion of the 6 billion people on earth are overweight, and their numbers continue to rise. The unaffiliated research institute notes that for the first time in history, a majority of adults in a number of countries suffer from obesity: 61 percent in the U.S., 54 percent in Russia and 51 percent in Great Britain. In Germany the number hovers around the 50 percent mark, and more than half of all Europeans between the ages of 35 and 65 weigh more than what doctors recommend. This trend stands out not only in wealthy nations, but in several developing nations as well.

The price of the extra pounds is high: heart attacks, cardiac disease, arthritis, diabetes, colon cancer and cancer in women are becoming more and more common among overweight people. According to estimates, in the U.S. alone 300,000 people die every year due to diseases associated with excess weight.

The study also found that overweight people have a 30 percent greater chance of being involved in work-related accidents. Four thousand industrial workers in 21 large factories were surveyed. In order to process the data the researchers compared two groups of employees: workers with normal body weight and workers who suffer from obesity. (Obesity was defined as 20 pounds over the preferred range.)

The results were surprising. Regardless of working conditions, overweight people had a higher likelihood of being involved in accidents on the job. The researchers attributed the results to the fact that fat people are more tired and less alert.


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