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Obesity figures start to slow

France marks Semaine du Goût with encouraging news on slowdown in numbers of overweight people

FRANCE may be on the verge of halting the rise in obesity as new figures - revealed as the country celebrates the Semaine du Goût food week - show that the increase in numbers has slowed for the first time in 15 years.

However, the figures still show that nearly seven million adults are obese. That adds up to 15% of the population, with one in seven men carrying too much weight and almost one in six women.

And the number of massively obese - with a body mass index of more than 40kg/m2 - has risen from 0.3% in 1997 to 1.2% in 2012.

In England, recent figures showed that 26% of people were obese, with a slight increase to 27% in Scotland.

The figures come from a study by ObEpi-Roche that is done every three years. Between 2009 and 2012 obesity figures rose 3.4% - a vast improvement on previous years where figures rose 18.8% from 1997 to 2000, 17.8 % from 2000 to 2003, 10.1% from 2003 to 2006 and 10.7 % between 2006 and 2009.

Over the past 15 years the average French person has put on an extra 3.6kg. They have also grown 0.7cm taller and put on an extra 1.3cm on their waists.

This week for the Semaine du Goût more than 150,000 youngsters will get special lessons from leading chefs, bakers, pastry-cooks, butchers, cheese-makers and farmers - teachers for the day.

In al there will be 5,000 tasting sessions to promote healthy eating and healthy French food with workshops in markets, schools, schops and restaurants.

Get more information on the Semaine du Goût website at

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