People Who Eat Alone More Vulnerable to Obesity

  • By Choi Won-woo, Lee Ki-hun

    February 15, 2018 08:42

    Six out of 10 Koreans now have at least one meal a day on their own, and that increases the risk of obesity.

    The findings come from analysis by Lee Haeng-shin at the Korea Health Industry Development Institute of public health data by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2013 to 2015.

    Lee found that 36.3 percent Koreans eat breakfast alone, 25 percent lunch and 19.1 percent dinner. Some 63.2 percent had at least one meal per day alone, while 52 percent of singles eat all three meals alone. Obesity among people who ate all three meals alone was 34.7 percent, 1.4 times higher than the 24.9 percent among those who ate all three meals in company.

    Many lonely eaters live an isolated life, so it is hard to break the pattern. 

    Kim Min-jung at the Korea Health Promotion Institute said, "Ready meals available in convenience stores tend to lack vegetables and essential nutrients like fiber, so they can make people fat."

    The Chosun Ilbo and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety surveyed nutrition information of ready meals in convenience stores. They were generally high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates and also tended to be salty and sugary.

    Prof. Ha Sang-do at Chungang University said, "It is human nature to like the taste of sugar and salt, so it's only natural for food producers to make their products as sweet and salty as possible."

    But the World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of less than 2,000 mg of salt for an adult, and just one bowl of tuna mayonnaise rice has 937 mg of salt, and a large cup of instant noodles a whopping 1,550 mg.

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