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Weight worries create a market

At least 70 million Chinese are worried about being overweight, which has created a flourishing market for weight-loss products, Xinhua news agency said.

A recent report by a research institute in the United States shows that the total population of overweight people in the world has reached an unprecedented 1.2 billion, almost equal to the whole population of China.

The Chinese branch of the International Life Sciences Institute recently surveyed overweight people in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The survey revealed that most respondents try to lose weight just to look good.

Only 24 percent mention-ed health as a reason for trying to lose weight.

People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from diabetes, hepatitis and kidney diseases, doctors have warned.

The institute's Professor Chen Chunming said that being overweight is more than just a question of looks. Some chronic diseases that are caused by being over-weight need professional direction and advice from doctors, Chen said.

The survey also showed that more than 95 percent of respondents have tried weight-loss products, and 51 percent of those said they have never continued with a single weight-loss product for more than two months.

Chen said losing weight should be done gradually. Taking weight-loss products, a healthy diet and suitable exercise are needed.

"Maintaining a suitable body weight is as important as losing weight," he said.

Fenfluramine, a diet drug closely linked to heart valve disease, was banned in the United States, but it can still be found at Chinese supermarkets, Xinhua said.

About 14.3 percent of those surveyed admitted they have taken or are taking diet drugs containing Fenfluramine, which are very dangerous to their health, Chen said.

There are 74 weight-loss clinics in the country, but more than 46 percent of those surveyed said they will not seek consultation from doctors to lose weight.

(Xinhua 04/04/2001)

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