RIO DE JANEIRO, 08 april 2009 –Some 13.6 percent of Brazilian women 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 alcohol consumption, 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.
Obesity is still far less common in Brazil 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.