by Justin McCurry / via The Guardian / December 27, 2012 /

Lingering fears of radiation have turned children from Fukushima into the most obese in Japan, according to a government study, as parents and schools continue to restrict the amount of time they spend outdoors.

In a preliminary report released this week, the education ministry found that children from Fukushima prefecture aged five to nine, as well as those aged 14 and 17, toppped the nationwide obesity rankings. The report defined as obese children who were at least 20% heavier than the standard weight for their age.

The report, released almost two years after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, linked the rise in obesity to lack of exercise, amid concern among teachers and parents over the possible health effects of prolonged exposure to low-level radiation.

The study used data from almost 700,000 children nationwide aged five to 17 between April and June this year.

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