• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Trends over time
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Health systems
  • Actions
Loading data – please wait …

Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2014

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-102
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2013-2014

Survey type:Measured
Age:25-64
Sample size:3315
Area covered:National
References:Kim YJ, Lee JS, Park J, et al. 'Trends in socioeconomic inequalities in five major risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the Korean population: a cross-sectional study using data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001–2014' BMJ Open 2017;7:e014070. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014070
Notes:In paper Obesity was defined as a BMI of ≥25kg/m2, according to the criteria of Asia-Pacific region. These % relate to the BMI definitions below Overweight BMI=>25 kg/m2
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-102
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2008

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-102
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2007-2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:20+
Sample size:17126
Area covered:National
References:Kang HT, Shim JY, Lee HR et al. Trends in Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Korean Adults, 1998-2009: The Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Epidemilogy 2014;24(2):109-116
Notes:NB. Combined adult data estimated. These estimates were calculated by weighting male and female survey results. Weighting based on World Bank Population % total female 2019 (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL.FE.ZS - accessed 21.10.20)'
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-102
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2001

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-102
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1998

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-79
Sample size:8816
Area covered:National
References:Soon Paek H, Sook Yun Y, Yuul Park J, Seol Kim Y and Myung Choi J, (2003). Obesity, abdominal obesity, and clustering of cardiovascular risk factors in South Korea. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 12 (4): 411 - 418.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1998

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-102
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2013-2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:10-17
Sample size:2685
Area covered:National
References:Heo S, Kwon S, Lee YM, Shin JY, Lee DH. Comparison of Trends in Blood Pressure and the Prevalence of Obesity Among Korean and American Adolescents: A 12-Years Cross-sectional Study. J Prev Med Public Health. 2020;53(1):45–55. doi:10.3961/jpmph.19.198
Notes:NB. Combined child data estimated. These estimates were calculated by weighting male and female survey results. Weighting based on World Bank Population % total female (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL.FE.ZS - accessed 20.11.20)
Cutoffs:Other

Children, 2010-2012

Survey type:Measured
Age:10-19
Sample size:5418
Area covered:National
References:Bahk J, Khang YH. Trends in Measures of Childhood Obesity in Korea From 1998 to 2012. J Epidemiology Vol. 26 (2016) No. 4 P 199-207
Notes:IOTF cut off (other cut offs available)
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 2003-2003

Survey type:Measured
Age:7-17
Sample size:1083
Area covered:Sub National
References:Matsushita Y, Yoshiike N, Kaneda F, Yoshita K and Takimoto H. (2004). Trends in childhood obesity in Lee K, Lee S, Kim SY, Kim SJ and Kim YJ. (2007). Percent body fat cutoff values for classifying overweight and obesity recommended by the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) in Korean children. Asia Pac Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 16(4): 649 - 655.
Notes:IOTF Cut off. Reference: Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. BMJ. 2000 May 6;320(7244):1240-3.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:6155
Area covered:National
References:Kim et al. (2014). Prevalence, Awareness, and Management of Obesity in Korea: Data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1998–2011). Diabetes Metab J 2014;38:35-43.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2007-2009

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:17126
Area covered:National
References:Kang HT, Shim JY, Lee HR et al. Trends in Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Korean Adults, 1998-2009: The Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Epidemilogy 2014;24(2):109-116
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by socio-economic group

Men, 2014

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2014

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2013-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-64
Sample size:7707
Area covered:National
References:Lee JY, Lee YR, Kim RH, Myong JP, Kang MY. Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015. Saf Health Work. 2020 Mar;11(1):97-102. doi: 10.1016/j.shaw.2019.08.003. Epub 2019 Sep 3.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2013-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-64
Sample size:7707
Area covered:National
References:Lee JY, Lee YR, Kim RH, Myong JP, Kang MY. Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015. Saf Health Work. 2020 Mar;11(1):97-102. doi: 10.1016/j.shaw.2019.08.003. Epub 2019 Sep 3.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2008

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2008

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2001

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2001

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 1998

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 1998

Survey type:Measured
Age:19-65
References:Jae Yong Lee, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Hyoung-Ryoul Kim, Jun-Pyo Myong, Mo-Yeol Kang,Trends in Obesity Prevalence by Occupation Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey From 1998 to 2015, Safety and Health at Work Vol 11 (1);2020:97-103
Notes:2007-9 (marked as 2008), 2010-2012 (marked as 2011), 2013-15 (marked as 2014)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Insufficient physical activity

Adults, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Men, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Women, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Children, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Boys, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Girls, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Estimated per-capita fruit intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita fruit intake (g/day)

Estimated per-capita processed meat intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita processed meat intake (g per day)

Estimated per-capita whole grains intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita whole grains intake (g/day)

Mental health - depression disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with depression disorders

Mental health - anxiety disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with anxiety disorders

Oesophageal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Breast cancer

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, breast, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Colorectal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Pancreatic cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Gallbladder cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Kidney cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Cancer of the uterus

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, cervix uteri, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Raised blood pressure

Adults, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Men, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Women, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Raised cholesterol

Adults, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Men, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Women, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Raised fasting blood glucose

Men, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Women, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Diabetes prevalence

Adults, 2017

References:Reproduced with kind permission of IDF, International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative prevalence (%).

Health systems

Economic classification: High Income

Health systems summary

South Korea has a universal National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) through which it has achieved universal health coverage. Participation in NHIS is mandatory, with employees paying insurance premiums in advance from their pay and later co-payments when and if they use services. The contributions from employers and employees are the main funding source of the national service but it is supplemented by government subsidies and tobacco surcharges. Veterans and those with low income are eligible for a free medical aid programme that is provided by the national health insurance service and subsidised by local government – this covers approximately 3% of the population.

As the NHIS does not cover 100% of medical bills, much of the population have private health insurance, and out of pocket expenditure can be high. South Korea has among the highest private expenditure among OECD countries - it is estimated that 36% of total expenditure is out of pocket.

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?Some progress
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?No
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?Some progress
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in rural areas?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?Yes
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?Yes
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Out of pocket

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • Obesity not recognised as a disease
  • High cost of out of pocket payments
  • Stigma
  • Obesogenic environment
  • Failure in primary care

Summary of stakeholder feedback

Generally, stakeholders felt that neither the government nor the healthcare financing mechanisms fully recognise obesity as a disease. It was considered, however, that this was starting to change as obesity prevalence rises. There is said to be few programmes concerning obesity prevention.

Similarly, it was reported that most of the Korean population do not believe obesity to be a disease (or a medical issue at all). The result is that few people living with obesity enter the health system. Despite a BMI of >25 kg/m² being the official cut-off for obesity in South Korea, it tends to be only those with comorbidities that get treatment. Generally, there are no clear pathways nor is there an obesity-specific referral system.

Due to the lack of coverage under the NHIS scheme, treatment is mostly paid for out-of-pocket. It was acknowledged that this may start to change as the NHIS started covering bariatric surgery in January 2019.

There is said to be an inadequate number of suitably qualified obesity treatment professionals in South Korea and no official national guidelines. All stakeholders noted, however, that academic and professional societies have produced obesity guidelines for adults and children. Specialist obesity training is limited.

Based on interviews/survey returns from 3 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

Download this information as a PDF

Actions

2018 Korean Society for the Study of Obesity Guideline for the Management of Obesity in Korea

These guidelines focus on guiding clinicians and patients to manage obesity more effectively. The recommendations and treatment algorithms can serve as a guide for the evaluation, prevention, and management of overweight and obesity.

Categories:Evidence of Management/treatment guidelines
Year(s):2018 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults
Organisation:Korean Society for the Study of Obesity
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Seo MH, Lee WY, Kim SS, et al. 2018 Korean Society for the Study of Obesity Guideline for the Management of Obesity in Korea [published correction appears in J Obes Metab Syndr. 2019 Jun;28(2):143]. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2019;28(1):40-45. doi:10.7570/jomes.2019.28.1.40

Clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric obesity: recommendations from the Committee on Pediatric Obesity of the Korean Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutritio

The following areas were systematically reviewed, especially on the basis of all available references published in South Korea and worldwide, and new guidelines were established in each area with the strength of recommendations based on the levels of evidence: (1) definition and diagnosis of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents; (2) principles of treatment of pediatric obesity; (3) behavioral interventions for children and adolescents with obesity, including diet, exercise, lifestyle, and mental health; (4) pharmacotherapy; and (5) bariatric surgery.

Categories:Evidence of Management/treatment guidelines
Year(s):2018 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Health Promotion Administryation, Ministry of Health & Welfare
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric obesity: recommendations from the Committee on Pediatric Obesity of the Korean Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition. Clin Exp Pediatr. 2019;62(1):3-21. Published online December 27, 2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3345/kjp.2018.07360

White Paper, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety

Categories:Labelling Regulation/Guidelines
Year(s):2016 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Ministry of Food and Drug Safety
Linked document:Download linked document

Clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric obesity

Provides an evidence-based systematic approach to childhood obesity in South Korea. Emphasises a family-based, comprehensive, multidisciplinary behavioural intervention which focuses on modifying lifestyle (calorie-controlled balanced diet, active vigorous physical activity and exercise, and reduction of sedentary habits, and support by the entire family, school, and community). Also emphasises the importance of starting early in life.

Categories:Evidence of Management/treatment guidelines
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Pediatric Obesity Committee of the KSPGHAN Guideline Task Force (TF)
Find out more:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Yong et al. 2019 Clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric obesity: recommendations from the Committee on Pediatric Obesity of the Korean Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition. Korean J Pediatr 2019;62(1). pp. 3-21.

Code of Advertising Ethics

The Code states that advertising for children and youth should not express anything that might spoil them physically or morally. It also states that Criteria for concrete activities shall conform to the ICC Advertising Activities Standards"

Categories (partial):Evidence of Marketing Guidelines/Policy
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Korea Federation of Advertising Associations
References:Currently a web link to this code is unavailable. If you are aware of the location of this document/intervention, please contact us at obesity@worldobesity.org

No actions could be found for the above criteria.

Loading