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Good News from the WHO: N. Korea's Got Obesity Under Control

10:10 AM, May 10, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Just 13 years after a famine that wiped out millions of its people and three years after a flood that aggravated frequent food shortages, caused by an authoritarian dictator who doesn't allow citizens to farm or sell food privately and has a history of rejecting international humanitarian aid, the country of North Korea has tackled its obesity problem.

So reports World Health Organization General-Director Margaret Chan:

Chan spent most of her brief visit in Pyongyang, and she said that from what she had seen there most people had the same height and weight as Asians in other countries, while there were no signs of the obesity emerging in some parts of Asia.

While she concedes malnutrition is a problem, she didn't see much sign of it in the capital city of Pyongyang, and reported instead on the high number of doctors N. Korea offers, a feature she said "other developing countries would envy." A country can no doubt have a lot of doctors when its central government has the power to force its citizenry into occupations, and then prevent them from ever leaving the country.

She acknowledged that countries always try to look good when she visits (You think that could have something to do with it?), and that circumstances might be very different in the countryside.

Hey, it could be worse. At least there's not some morally bereft international bureaucratic body naming Iran to a commission on women's rights, huh? Oh. 

Flashback: Ted Turner's assessment of North Korean health after a trip to the country: "They were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving. I didn't see any brutality."

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