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Which nation feels most pressure to lose weight?

Participants at the 'Miss Brazil 2009' beauty contest in May 2009. A poll reveals Brazilians feel most pressured to be thin.
Participants at the 'Miss Brazil 2009' beauty contest in May 2009. A poll reveals Brazilians feel most pressured to be thin.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World Health Organization: More people die from being overweight, obese than underweight
  • Poll: Of those quizzed, Brazilians feel most pressure to be slimmer
  • Poll: Russians are the most likely to turn to cigarettes to lose weight

(Reader's Digest) -- Brazilians feel the most pressure to lose weight and be thin, according to an international poll.

Eighty-three percent of those polled in Brazil said they felt the pressure to be slimmer, followed by India (68 percent), the U.S. (62 percent) and France (55 percent), according to the survey, commissioned by Reader's Digest for its February issue.

The poll of 16,000 people across 16 countries suggests most of us believe too much emphasis is put on being slim. Even so, most have tried to lose weight. And, everywhere, women are significantly more likely than men to feel the pressure.

Russians are the most likely to turn to cigarettes to lose weight (23 percent of men and 18 percent of women), while Mexicans are most likely to choose a healthier diet or physical exercise.

The poll also shows that France blames the prevalence of fast-food in the U.S. for Americans' growing girths -- and many Americans agree, with almost three-quarters of those polled in the U.S. admitting their eating habits promote obesity.

Meanwhile, 51 percent of married American women wish their husbands were thinner with 47 percent of American husbands wishing the same of their spouses.

Although the universal weight struggle is clear from our poll results, obesity is not our collective destiny
--Reader's Digest VP/Global Editor-in-Chief Peggy Northrop
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According to the World Health Organization, more people in the world now die from being overweight and obese than being underweight. It says there are about 1.6 billion overweight or obese people in the world and at least 2.5 million deaths are associated with these conditions annually.

"Although the universal weight struggle is clear from our poll results, obesity is not our collective destiny," said Reader's Digest VP/Global Editor-in-Chief Peggy Northrop.

"Most cultures have some custom that can keep people lean, from a bottle of mineral water on most restaurant tables in Europe to the downsizing of supersizing portions in the UK. There is a huge opportunity to learn from each other how to eat healthy."

For more results on the Reader's Digest Global Diet Poll and related content, visit the Reader's Digest site.

 
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