In the study of data from 9.88 million people who had checkups in 2008, Dong District in Ulsan topped the list with 43 percent of its residents overweight, followed by Yanggu in Gangwon Province with 42 percent.
Four other areas in the Gangwon Province recorded obesity rates of over 40 percent: Inje (3rd place), Yeongwol (5th), Yangyang (7th), and Cheolwon (9th).
Of the 230 administrative areas nationwide, Gangnam and Seocho districts in Seoul ranked the lowest with 28 percent.
Korea's use of slimming pills and appetite suppressants ranks near the top in the world despite an obesity rate of 3.5 percent, only a quarter of the OECD's average 14.6 percent.So, are gangwon residents obese? Is the rate 3.5% or 35%?
Production and import of obesity drug Sibutramine rose 11 times from W4.4 billion in 2003 to W49 billion in 2008 (US$1=W1,140). The market for psychotropic appetite suppressants, which are categorized as narcotics by the International Narcotics Control Board, also grew four-fold.
It is a paradox that one of the skinniest countries in the world consumes the largest amount of diet drugs. In a survey of 1,000 Koreans aged 15 to 59 by Consumers Korea, 86 percent had gone or were on a diet in 2008, while 13 percent said they had resorted to diet pills.