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January 1 2013

How The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Made Kids Fat

After a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011, causing major meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, local schools restricted outdoor activities and parents (understandably) wanted to keep their children indoors. That's had an unexpected consequence. Fukushima children 5 to 9 and 14 to 17 are the fatest in the country.

The education ministry released a nation-wide preliminary report last week, defining "obese" children as kids who are 20 percent heavier than average. In Fukushima, the obesity rate among 6-year-old boys was 11.4 percent, up from 6.3 percent in 2010. For 8-year-old girls in the prefecture, the rate doubled to 14.6 percent.

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