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Two million New Zealanders predicted to be obese by 2038

Professor Jim Mann, Co-Director of the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre (EDOR), has commented on a study by University of Otago researchers that predicts that two million New Zealanders will be obese by 2038.

Dunedin School of Medicine researchers Dr Ross Wilson and Professor Haxby Abbott, whose study was published today in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, noted that New Zealand obesity rates had tripled between 1977 and 2013, and that the population Body Mass Index (BMI) was continuing to rise.

"High BMI has now overtaken tobacco as the greatest contributor to health loss in New Zealand, which emphasises the public health importance of these findings," Dr Wilson said.

Professor Mann is not surprised by the "terrible statistics" and has been vocal about the looming obesity crisis for some years: "My main reaction is one of continuing dismay...", he says.

New Zealand has the third highest rate of adult obesity in the OECD, just behind the United States and Mexico.

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