Koreans Overdose on Diet Pills


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. 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. The problem is that even people with average weight take diet pills and doctors prescribe them recklessly.

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