You might think United States tops the list of the Fattest Countries in the World but you’d be wrong. Close, but wrong. According to the recent Global Status Report released by the World Health Organization (WHO), there’s a new winner, if we can call it that, and it’s the Pacific Islands, east of Australia. Yes, much to everyone’s bewilderment, obesity in the Pacific Islands, nations in the South Pacific Ocean east of Australia and Fiji is through the roof.
According to WHO, a person with a BMI of 30 of more is considered obese while someone with a BMI of 25 to 29 is considered overweight. Looking at the reasons, it’s interesting to note why obesity has become rampant in these islands. Some experts note that over time, wholesome and traditional foods in these islands such as meat, fruits, fish and vegetables have been replaced by ‘energy-dense and nutrient poor’ foods like canned meats, sugar, flour, rice, beer and soft drinks. The report notes, “Obesity has been increasing in all countries. In 2014, 39% of adults aged 18 years and older (38% of men and 40% of women) were overweight. The worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly doubled between 1980 and 2014. In 2014, 11% of men and 15% of women worldwide were obese. Thus, more than half a billion adults worldwide are classed as obese.”WHO has also released a few maps that show the obesity rates of men and women around the world. Interestingly, the report highlights that overall, women are more likely to be obese than men. "In the African, South-East Asia, and Eastern Mediterranean regions, women have roughly double the obesity prevalence of men," the report says.
Prevalence of obesity in men around the world
Prevalence of obesity in women around the world
The Southeast Asia Region had the lowest obesity rate in the world. Bangladesh and Ethiopia were joint last on the list. Nepal was second last. Low obesity levels were also reported in Africa. Most of these regions have a ballooning population and not enough food to meet the ever-increasing demand. These regions have high levels of malnutrition and, unfortunately, don’t get the calories they need. A quick look at the stats –
10 Most Obese Nations (%)
American Samoa 74.6
Cook Islands 63.4
Marshall Isalnds 45.4
Kuwait 42 Obesity in Other Nations (%)
Saudi Arabia 33
South Africa 31.3
According to WHO, around 3.4 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.