Battle of the bulge a global issue: poll

Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:43pm EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Brazilians feel the most pressure to be thin, the Finns are acutely aware of the dangers of obesity and Americans have the toughest struggle to lose weight, according to a global survey.

The Reader Digest poll also revealed that Russians smoke the most to try to drop excess weight, and along with Germans and Indians they are most likely to blame genetics for their penchant for piling on the pounds.

"Our poll makes it clear that people around the world are struggling with their weight," said Peggy Northrop, the vice president and global editor-in-chief of the magazine.

"People are both very concerned about weight and think that people pay too much attention to weight," she added in an interview.

About 1.6 billion people around the world are overweight or obese. Excess weight also contributes to 2.5 million deaths globally each year, according to the WHO.

But people are trying to lose weight.

More than 80 percent of Finns have tried to slim down, followed by 73 percent of the Dutch and 72 percent of Australians and Americans.

But Mexicans had one of the best approaches to losing weight.   Continued...

<p>A competitor prepares to go in front of judges at a casting call for the second season of the reality television programme "Dance Your Ass Off", during which overweight or obese contestants hope to lose weight by dancing, in New York December 18, 2009. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly</p>