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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Germany launches obesity campaign
Obesity is increasing throughout the developed world
The German government is launching an action plan to cut obesity rates sharply by 2020.

The initiative follows a study which revealed that Germany has the highest number of overweight people in Europe.

The plan, called "Fit instead of Fat", includes improving the quality of foods in schools and hospitals, and boosting exercise levels in children.

Health problems related to obesity are already estimated to cost Germany more than $90 million a year.

The package is being presented to cabinet meeting on Wednesday by health minister Ulla Schmidt and consumer affairs minister Horst Seehofer.

Germany is a nation that prides itself on its love of sport and outdoor activities.

So many Germans were shocked when figures compiled by the International Association for the Study of Obesity found more than 75% of men in the country, and 59% of women were classified as overweight.

Germany has a strong beer-drinking culture and some experts have pointed to a clear link between beer consumption and obesity.

Ms Schmidt warned that the government had to act now to minimise the risk of an huge increase in obesity-related health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

She expressed particular concern about the number of children who were overweight due to poor diet and lack of exercise.


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