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Taiwan dieters shed tons of weight

13th December 2011

Dieters have finished participating in a high-profile weight-loss campaign in Taiwan.

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More than 70 participants shed more than 20 kilos (44 lbs) each, and 112,007 people together lost a combined 130 metric tons, far exceeding the project's target by about 29 metric tons.

The campaign was launched at the beginning of this year, on 1 January, as part of an anti-obesity drive.

The participants who managed to lose the most weight in three categories won awards.

Additionally, every participant was required to maintain a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 at the very least, as a safeguard against people losing too much weight.

The man with the highest weight loss record, who lost 47 kilos, did not wish to be identified.

The runner-up, known only by his surname, Cheng, got the top prize.

Cheng, who lost 39 kilos in total since the begining of 2011, works with Taipei Rapid Transit, and took home the equivalent of about £300 in prize money.

Cheng said that in the past, he had tried many diets, including a reduced fat diet, but had never managed to lose much weight.

He said that during the recent contest, he lost weight by eating a normal breakfast and lunch and cutting calories from his dinner, and that in general he avoided high-fat, high-calorie foods.

Hau Lung-bin, the mayor of Taipei, said that he had also shed three kilograms since the start of the campaign.

Hau said that the secret to successfully losing weight was diet control and regular exercise, as well as eating low-calorie, low-fat foods.

The weight-loss programme was dubbed '101', the original target being that Taiwanese participants as a whole would lose 101 metric tons.

Some of the people who enrolled in the programme originally weighed as much as 140 kilos.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths, with at least 2.8 million adults dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese.

The problem is also blamed for around 44% of the diabetes burden, 23% of the ischaemic heart disease burden and between 7% and 41% of certain cancer burdens.

The WHO estimates that around 1.5 billion adults aged 20 and older were overweight or obese in 2008.

More than 10% of the global population is now obese, according to the agency.

Overweight and obesity are now on the rise in towns and cities in low- and middle-income countries, although they used to be associated with richer parts of the world.

In all high-income and middle-income countries, overweight and obesity kill more people than malnutrition and underweight.

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