A survey that follows weight pattern in France reveals that French people, particularly women are growing larger and fatter.
According to the ObEpi-Roche survey, almost 42% of the French population aged above 15 years is affected by weight problem, with 1/3rd of it being overweight and 12.4% being obese.
Obesity is on a high in France, in spite of the perception that French avoid overeating and junk food. This is reported by the study that is being conducted every 3 years since 1997.
The drugs group Roche, manufacturer of weight loss products promoted this survey. It signifies growing concern on obesity in France and mirrors other surveys that reveal increase in average clothes sizes.
However, this problem is more severe in other nations like the US than in France. The increase in severe obesity needing medical care is stable.
"There is a small hope that a favourable trend is starting," Marie Aline Charles, head of research at the National Institute of health and medical research (INSERM) said.
"But you cannot state that we might begin to reverse this trend in France until other studies confirm our results."
11.3% of the people in France were obese, 3 years ago, while it was 8.2 % in 1997. The proportion of overweight population has not changed.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) standards, when the body mass index (BMI): weight divided by height, is 25 or more, people are considered overweight, when it is more than 30, they are called obese and a BMI of 35 and above is considered a severe obesity case.
"More than anything else, obesity is a health problem," Anne-Sophie Joly, head of French obesity lobby group CNAO told Reuters. "If you don't inform people they won't know."
Xenical is a weight loss drug manufacture by Roche. The other drugs are Acomplia of Sanofi-Aventis and Meridia of Abott Laboratories.
Last year, campaign against the health dangers associated with obesity was started in France and the CNAO plans to emphasize the rising numbers of obese children, by this year-end.
The study revealed that obesity is associated with earnings. Almost 19 % of the obese people earn not more than 900 euros a month. However, obesity has reduced among those earning over 5,300 euros, for the first time since 1997.
According to an earlier survey by the TNS world panel, XL clothes size represent 22% of the French women's clothing sales in the starting of this year when compared to 18 % in 2004.