A growing number of Korean men in their 20s and 30s are obese, with those in their late 30s showing the highest degree of obesity, according to a report on physical fitness for 2009 released Wednesday by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The average body mass index of men in their late 30s was 25.2, highest among all age groups, and men in their late 20s had an average BMI of 24.5. BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight by the square of his or her height, and an index of 25 or above is considered obese.
In a similar study conducted in 2007, people in their early 50s were most obese with an average BMI of 25.
The report also found that young people in their 20s and 30s were getting less physically fit, scoring poorly in physical tests including sit-ups and long-distance running comparing to two years ago.
"Decreasing physical activity compounded by increasing calorie intake" is the main reason behind the problem, the ministry said.
A ministry official said, "We need to come up with programs to boost physical activity and improve body strength as Korea becomes an aged society."
The report was compiled at the request of the ministry by the Korea Institute for Sports Science based on a survey of 4,000 adult men and women nationwide. It has a margin of error of 2.23 percent.