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Taiwan remains most overweight Asian country despite increase in exercise

Statistics show that many Taiwanese are still overweight even though they are doing more exercise

Taiwan remains most overweight Asian country despite increase in exercise

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan is the most overweight country in Asia despite an upward trend of exercising regularly, according to government statistics.

The Health Promotion Administration (國民健康署) warns that the number of Taiwanese considered to be overweight, or with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 24,has grown from 32.7 percent between 1993 to 1996 to a shockingly high 45.4 percent between 2013 to 2016, making the Taiwanese population the most overweight in Asia.

However, seemingly contradicting statistics published by the Sports Administration (體育署) suggests that 83.1 percent of the population engage in at least one type of sport, and 33.5 percent of the population exercise on a regular basis.

Many Taiwanese are troubled and confused when they fail to lose weight in spite of intensive exercise. Traditional Chinese physician and writer Chen Chih-chia (陳峙嘉) wrote about the two most common reasons for this in a Facebook post.

Sudden Intensive Exercise

If someone who does not exercise on a regular basis suddenly engages in an intensive activity, such as mountain climbing or running, his or her body may interpret the abnormal increase in energy consumption as the individual facing a disaster. It then naturally stocks up on fat as an emergency energy provision.

Overly Intensive Exercise

Many people, including those who have just given birth to a child or just recovered from a severe illness, do not take the limitations of their body into consideration when they engage in intensive exercise. Overly strenuous work-outs only further weaken their bodies and slow down their metabolisms, which results in lower efficiency in burning fat.

Chen said that it is better to do aerobic exercises in order to keep the metabolism rate high and efficiently burn fat. The easiest and most economical exercise is to walk 45 minutes at 6 km per hour.

Chen also noted that to successfully lose weight, it is important to exercise on a regular basis and only gradually intensify the exercise. He suggested that inactive people should begin by exercising once per week, increasing to twice per week after two weeks and then to three to four times per week after another two weeks.