Britons are the fattest people in Europe, with one of the world"s fastest obesity growth rates, according to a leading international think-tank.
The UK comes top out of 20 European Union nations, with almost one in four people so fat they could face an early grave.
Levels of fatness in Scottish children are second worst in the world, behind the US, while children in England are eighth worst.
Overall, in a study of citizens of the 33 richest countries, the UK is fifth behind the US, Mexico, Chile and New Zealand.
Developed nations are getting fatter, warns the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development which produced the report.
The Paris-based watchdog claims the growing costs of healthcare and wasted resources are making obesity a top priority for many governments.
Report author Franco Sassi, a former London School of Economics lecturer, puts the blame on modern lifestyles.
He said: "Food is much cheaper than in the past, in particular food that is not particularly healthy, and people are changing their lifestyles. They have less time to prepare meals and are eating out more in restaurants.
"There is a frightening increase in the epidemic. We"ve not reached the plateau yet."
According to the report, the lifespan of an obese person is up to 10 years shorter than that of a normal-weight person – the same loss of lifespan incurred by smoking.
It shows 24 per cent of men were rated obese and 25 per cent of women in 2008 in the UK.
In addition, 42 per cent of men are overweight and 32 per cent of women, meaning that up to two in three people have their health put at risk by their weight.
In Scotland, latest figures show 35 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds are overweight or obese, compared with 29 per cent of children aged five to 17 in England.
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