Taipei, Aug. 6 (CNA) Over 40 percent of middle-aged men in Taiwan have large waistlines and need to lose weight, said Department of Health Deputy Minister Lin Tzou-yien on Monday.
Since the department launched a new preventative health care program for adults in August 2011, 1.46 million men above the age of 40 have had their waists measured under the program as of May this year, Lin said.
Of those men, 40.8 percent in the 40-64 age bracket had larger than average waistlines, while 43.1 percent in the over 65 age bracket had larger than average waistlines, Lin said.
The standard waistline for men should be less than 90 centimeters (about 35.4 inches), he added.
In the last five years, the waistlines of middle-aged men have thickened by an average of 2.9 cm, and there are an increasing number of men with metabolic syndromes, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar and cholesterol levels, Lin said.
People with wide midsections have a 50 percent chance of developing metabolic syndromes, and for those with high blood pressure the rate increases to 75 percent, said Chao Kun-yu, deputy director-general of the Bureau of Health Promotion.
People with metabolic syndromes are six times as likely to become diabetic as other people, while the chances for developing high blood pressure and hyperlipidemin are respectively four times and three times as likely, Chao added.
In addition, those with metabolic syndromes are also two times as likely to get cardiovascular diseases and strokes as those without such syndromes, Chao continued.
Many modern people live under a lot of stress, have unhealthy lifestyles, eat a lot and exercise little, which results in people gaining weight, Chao said.
To promote preventive health measures, the department is urging families ahead of Father's Day on Aug. 8 to encourage their fathers to keep their waistlines below 90 cm to protect their health, Chao said.
(By Lung Rui-yun and C.J. Lin)