South Korea’s Obesity Rate Is Lower Than Almost Every Nation In The World, And Here’s Why

So what’s the secret?

If you’ve ever thought about the perfect bodies that Korean idols have and wondered how exactly they have them, there just may be an answer! According to a recent study, South Korea has the second lowest obesity rate in the entire world!


You’ve probably heard of the obesity epidemic and may even know that in 2016, 39% of the world’s population was considered to be overweight, but you probably didn’t know that South Korea has always had a historically low rate that continues to this day.


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that 1 in 2 adults and 1 in 6 children were overweight in 2017, meaning that the ratings are even higher than in 2016. Meanwhile, the ratings in South Korea were only 5.3%. Compared to the 3rd lowest country, Italy at 9.8%, South Korea has a rating that is 4.5% lower.

OECD Health Statistics Data, lowest seven rates. From

The only country with a lower rating is Japan with 4.2%. And it’s definitely a remarkable difference between the United States which currently has a 40% rating, the highest among OECD countries.


And although South Korea’s rates are expected to increase at a faster pace than other countries in the future, their predicted values are still surprisingly low. By the year 2030, South Korea is expected to have a 9% rate which is still less than Italy’s current 9.8%!

Projected obesity rates by the OECD. Photo from


South Korea also already has a plan of attack to keep that number at bay. Starting soon all snacks and processed foods in the country will be labeled with the amount of monosaccharides and disaccharides as well as informing consumers of the total amount of nutrients in each snack pack.

South Korea may be implementing something similar to this.

Monosaccharides are known as simple sugars and are the most basic units of carbohydrates while disaccharides are any class of sugars that contain two or more monosaccharide residues.


So what else contributes to this amazingly low number? Koreans are known to be fitness crazy and incredibly health conscious. Their traditional foods are packed with a whole bunch of good nutrients.

Take kimchi for example. It’s full of antioxidants, vitamin A, B, and C and has a ton of healthy probiotic bacteria. Some research suggests it can even help prevent heart disease and diabetes as well as boost resistance to some strains of the flu!


Plus they are very aware of the benefits of exercise and work out on the regular.


Taking their already fitness and health conscious habits and combining it with their plan of attack, it would be pretty safe to say that South Korea will be holding onto that super low rate in the future.

Source: OECD and WHO