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Girth of the Irish expanding, study says

SHARE Girth of the Irish expanding, study says

DUBLIN, Ireland — Ireland's newfound prosperity is feeding through to the country's waistlines, with the number of people suffering from obesity doubling in a decade, the Irish Times reported on Tuesday.

The report, quoting from a survey due for publication next month, said that almost one in five people on the island of Ireland is now obese — a fact that may be hard to stomach for those who stuck out the country's lean years.

The Republic of Ireland, one of the poor men of Europe for generations, has transformed itself in recent years into a high-tech economic powerhouse, recording economic growth of around 10 percent since the mid-1990s.

The survey is expected to show the average Irish person is now some 13 pounds heavier than in 1990 and that more than half the population is overweight. It also shows that more men than women are too heavy. Research for the North/South Food Consumption Study took three years to complete and was carried out by Dublin's Trinity College, Cork University in southern Ireland and Coleraine University in Northern Ireland.

Factors cited in Ireland's expanding girth include poor diet, sedentary jobs and lack of exercise.

Irish people may work longer hours than they used to but have more disposable income to spend on food and alcohol when they clock off, the report said. Ireland has also seen an influx of multinational fast-food chains.

The researchers found that the increased inches were filtering through to the clothing industry. The Irish chain store Dunnes reported that its best-selling brassiere size in the 1980s was 32B compared to today's 34C and 36C.