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Youth obesity on rise for third year: report

SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- Obesity rates among children and adolescents have steadily risen in the last three years, a report showed Wednesday, posing growing public health challenges.

According to the education ministry report, 14.3 percent of elementary, middle and high school students nationwide were classified as moderately or severely overweight last year, up from 11.2 percent in 2008 and 13.2 percent in 2009.

By gender, male students had a higher obesity rate at 16 percent than female students at 12.3 percent, according to the report submitted to Rep. Kim Choon-jin of the Democratic Party.

The highest rates of obesity were found among high school students last year, followed by elementary students' 14 percent and middle students' 13.7 percent, it noted.

"Student obesity is rapidly rising due to test-oriented education and increases in Internet use," Kim said. "As student obesity could lead to adult obesity, measures like medical treatment should be put into place."