South Korea constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The name Korea is derived from the ancient Kingdom of Goguryeo, also known as Koryo. South Koreans lead a distinctive urban lifestyle; half of them live in high-rises concentrated in the Seoul Capital Area with 25 million residents and the world's sixth leading global city with the fourth largest economy. Today, it is the world's fifth largest exporter and seventh largest importer with the OECD's third largest budget surplus.
It is Asia's most advanced democracy with high government transparency, universal healthcare, freedom of religion and fundamental rights protected by the most developed rule of law in East Asia. The country, including all its islands, lies between latitudes 33° and 39°N, and longitudes 124° and 130°E. Its total area is 100,032 square kilometres (38,622.57 sq mi). South Korea's terrain is mostly mountainous, most of which is not arable. Lowlands, located primarily in the west and southeast, make up only 30% of the total land area. South Korea tends to have a humid continental climate and a humid subtropical climate, and is affected by the East Asian monsoon, with precipitation heavier in summer during a short rainy season called jangma which begins end of June through the end of July. Rainfall is concentrated in the summer months of June through September.
The Ministry of Science and Technology, established in 1967, has carried out a national R&D program since 1982 to develop long-term, large-scale high technologies that are essential for improving South Korea’s comparative advantage in international trade. The Korean Science and Engineering Foundation, KOSEF, modelled after the National Science Foundation (NSF), supports basic research. Like NSF, South Korea is establishing Science Research Centres and Engineering Research Centres at universities around the country for the common utilization of advanced R&D facilities.
The purposes of this paper are to describe the unique aspects of the nutrition transition in South Korea, including trends in food consumption and obesity, patterns of morbidity and mortality; to focus on efforts to maintain the traditional diet in the midst of rapid economic growth and the introduction of Western culture; and to provide insights for other countries. We analysed secondary dietary intake, anthropometric, morbidity and mortality data from published reports and articles. Results: In South Korea, the level and rate of increase in fat intake have remained very low, whereas vegetable intake has been high and fruit intake has increased greatly. South Korea also has a relatively low prevalence of obesity compared with other Asian countries. The traditional Korean diet is a low-fat and high-vegetable diet. Therefore, the government and nutrition specialists have been initiating numerous efforts to advertise and teach the public that the traditional diet is a healthy diet. They are also working on revival of the traditional diet using an approach that is acceptable to contemporary Koreans. The nutrition transition in South Korea is unique. A range of government, nutrition specialists and some private organisation efforts has worked to retain healthful elements of the traditional diet in South Korea. The continued low level of total fat in the overall diet and the high intake of fruits and vegetables bode well for South Korea.