Why one out of two S. Koreans are ‘always on a diet’

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여름 휴가철 앞두고 ‘다이어트’ 열풍… 과연 건강한 방법으로 하고 있을까?

Sun’s out, guns out.
Summer is high time to hit the beach.
But before that getting in swimsuit shape is crucial. to the gym to get their bodies toned for the beach.
Our Shin Ye-eun went to find out why dieting has become the norm, and what must be done to shed pounds the healthy way.
It’s Summer.
Which means… it’s time to get into shape.

Dieting has become the norm in South Korea.
Studies show one out of two Koreans are always on a diet
I went to the streets to find out if this is true.

“Dieting seems to be the norm in Korea.

Why do you think so?”

“It feels like I have to be on a diet,
because everyone around me is on one.”

“Whenever I see celebrities and the way they dress,
I want to look like them.

That’s why I diet.”

“I always say I’m on a diet because I get stressed whenever I gain weight.

But it’s really hard to keep to it.”

“I think people are too uptight.

Stop trying to lose weight.

You’re skinny enough.”

Many of the people I talked to thought they were overweight.
But, South Korea has one of the lowest obesity rates in the OECD.
Even with a lower body mass index required to be classed as overweight.
While countries like the U.S. consider those with a BMI of 25 and up to be overweight.
Korea classes being overweight as having a BMI of 23 or higher.

I talked to a psychology professor to find out why so many Koreans are trying to lose weight.

He said it’s because of group mentality.
Especially in a homogeneous country like Korea where people inevitably compare themselves with one another.
This has become more severe with more people active on social media.

“Everyone looks super skinny and beautiful on social media. They also happening to be smiling which makes us subconsciously think that in order to be happy we need to lose more weight. Also, users only get to know each other through pictures and videos. They inevitably have to judge people’s personalities by their looks. So our mind thinks that the skinnier our social media friend is, the more diligent they are.”

Something appearing on social media for years now is a chart showing what’s thought to be the ideal body weight for a particular height.
You can see here, women who are 160 cm… should supposedly be 47 kilograms.
And a 180 cm tall man should supposedly weigh 66 kilos.
But in reality, what’s considered the average, the healthy weight… is nearly 10 kilograms more than that.

That’s why health professionals stressed not everyone should be on a diet.
And those who are trying to lose weight… should be doing it for their own health.

“Here in Korea, people tend to think they’re overweight when they’re not. But medically speaking, dieting is recommended for people who are extremely overweight or obese. It shouldn’t be solely for beauty purposes. It’s to prevent illnesses and be healthy.”

“As a psychologist I can confidently say, trying to eat less and going on a strict diet is very difficult and stressful. It goes against Mother Nature. No wonder there’s a concept known as “comfort food.” Humans are happy when they eat. If you’re going to be stressed going on a diet, it’s better not to do it at all.”

“More important than having a perfect body is just having fun and being happy while you’re exercising and eating healthily.
Just like me right now.
Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News.”

#diet #health #summer_vacation

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2022-07-11, 08:00 (KST)

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