The Most Obese Countries In The World

Unlike what you were expecting, not the developed countries are the most obese in the world. With Nauru, a small and sparsely populated country, at number 1, obesity isn’t directly associated with a country’s high economic status like it was before.

Obesity among adults has been rampant in the recent years. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported in 2016 that there are more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight and 650 million were obese. Over the years 40 years, the number of those who are overweight and obese has already tripled. Additionally, at least 2.8 million people die each year because of excess body fat.


What is Obesity?

Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. – World Health Organization (WHO)

To exactly know if you are overweight or obese, your body mass index (BMI) should not be equal to or greater than 25 or 30 respectively. To measure your BMI, simply divide your weight in kilograms to your height in square metres (kg/m2). However, BMI can’t actually distinguish the amount of fat and muscle in your body. Some athletes may become too heavy for their height because of too much muscle and not fat. But still, it’s important to know if you’re weight is still proportional to your height.

If obesity isn’t prevented, it could lead to more serious noncommunicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases,musculoskeletal disorders and some cancers.


The Relationship Between Economic Status and Obesity


As mentioned, not because a country is developed doesn’t mean obesity is more prevalent. Norway, being the most developed, is at a very low rank being at 68. This may indicate that a country’s economic status greatly related to obesity and being overweight. Nauru and Palau being the first and second respectively are small communities that are underdeveloped. How did they become obese? It’s mostly because they can’t afford healthy food because of constant raising of prices. This results into opting for cheaper options like junk food or fried food that add up to their body fat.

The WHO stated that many low and middle-income countries are now struggling with “double burden” of disease because as they continuously deal with infectious diseases, these countries are also faced with obesity and overweight. In fact, it’s doesn’t come as a surprise that bott malnutrition and obesity can become prevalent in underdeveloped country at the same time.


Obesity in the United States


While the USA isn’t at the top of the list of the most obese countries, the hometown of the famous fast food chains and desserts still has the highest obesity rates around the world. Across the country, more than one in three adults are obese while there’s one in six children (2-19). This data is even expected to significantly increase in the coming years, mainly by 47% of the population will become obese in 2030.

Obesity has contributed a lot to around 100-400,000 deaths in the USA per year. The widely available processed meat and calorie-rich food have been seen as one of the most significant causes of excessive weight gain in men and women. Fast food, including hamburgers, bacon, doughnuts, and french fries which are high in fat and carbohydrates are widely consumed in the United States. In fact, one-third of children (ages 4-19) eat in fast food chain every single day. To prevent obesity in the country, non-profit organisations are working together to educate people on making healthier food choices.


The Most Obese Countries In The World

WHO Data published in 2017

RankCountryPercentage of Obese People
1Nauru61.0
2Cook Island s55.9
3Palau55.3
4Marshall Islands52.9
5Tuvalu51.6
6Niue50.0
7Tonga48.2
8Samoa47.3
9Kiribati46.0
10Micronesia45.8
11Kuwait37.9
12United States of America36.2
13Jordan35.5
14Saudi Arabia35.4
15Qatar35.1
16Libya32.5
17Turkey32.1
18Egypt32.0
19Lebanon32.0
20United Arab Emirates31.7
21Bahamas31.6
22New Zealand30. 8
23Iraq30.4
24Fiji30.2
25Bahrain29.8

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