Study shows Brazilian waistlines expanding

April 7, 2009

(AP) -- The girl from Ipanema is putting on a few pounds.

Some 13.6 percent of Brazilian are obese, and 12.4 percent of men - a combined 1.6 percent increase from the last survey in 2006, a Health Ministry study announced Tuesday.

In 1975, just 7.8 percent of Brazilian women and 2.8 percent of men were obese.

An additional 43.3 percent of Brazilians are now considered overweight, the study found.

The Health Ministry blames increased , among other factors, saying people eat excessively when they drink.

"It's very worrying," said Deborah Malta, a researcher at the ministry who helped run the study.

About 19 percent of Brazilians consume alcohol excessively, downing four or more drinks in one sitting for women and five or more for men. About 17.3 percent did so in 2006.

is still far less common in than in the U.S., where 35 percent of women and 33 percent of men are considered obese. But while obesity in Brazilian women had appeared to stabilize in recent years, it appears to be on the rise again, Malta said.

Obesity is defined by height-weight ratio. A person who is 5-foot-4 (1.6 meters) and weighs 175 pounds (79 kilogramss) would be considered obese.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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