20 Most Overweight Countries In The World (2019)

Americans are the fattest nation in the world,
right? Wrong! That title belongs to a tiny island nation in Central Pacific. Keep watching
to find out which 20 countries are the fattest in the world!
20. Bahamas The Bahamas might be a dream destination for
tourists from all over the world, but this country also has the highest percentage of
overweight people in Latin American and the Caribbean. Nearly 70% of the Bahamian population
is overweight and Bahamian women have a significantly higher rate of obesity than men. The obesity
rate for Bahamian women is 42.5% and Bahamian men 29.7 %. Bahamas also has one of the highest
rates of diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases in the world. The obesity epidemic
in the Bahamas is often blamed on traditional cuisine that features meals full of fat, sugar
and salt. However, people in the Bahamas are also eating more processed fast-food than
ever due to economic growth, increased urbanization, and the integration of the region into international
markets. 19. United Arab Emirates
In the United Arab Emirates metabolic risks associated to obesity and a high body mass
index are the biggest contributing factor of death and disease. If the obesity rates
continue to grow at this pace, it is predicted that healthcare spending in the Emirates will
more than double to $47.5 billion by 2040. Obesity is becoming a huge problem among children
and adolescents in the UAE and records show that nearly 40% of all children enrolled in
Grade 8 in the emirate of Abu Dhabi are classified as either overweight or obese. Health regulators
in this country are currently discussing the implementation of front-of-pack labeling for
pre-packaged foods, as well as a 20% decrease in the sugar content of food products in an
attempt to curb the spread of obesity. 18. Lebanon
Over the last 12 years, levels of obesity among children and young people in Lebanon
have risen dramatically – from 20.0% to 21.2% in the 6-19 year old population. The rise
in obesity rates is partially blamed on changing lifestyles, particularly the rise of sedentary
behavior in the child and adolescent population, which has increased from 19.9% in 1997 to
60.5% in 2009. The average Lebanese diet has also changed significantly in recent decades,
leading to a rise in average energy intake of 850 kcal per person per day between 1970
and 2005. The obesity prevalence among Lebanese adults, of 27.4% for men and 28.8% for women,
places this country above countries in western and northern Europe. 17. Egypt
A diet full of sugar, meat and simple carbs coupled with few opportunities for exercise
have left 62% of Egyptians overweight. An average serving at Egyptian restaurants contains
an estimated 800 calories, which is more than a third of recommended daily caloric intake
for men and more than half for women. In Egypt, obesity doesn’t seem to be bound by social
class. Low-income families turn to rice and potato dishes to fill stomachs at the end
of a long day, while the wealthy who can afford to eat meat with almost every meal, also have
access to fast food, which is considered a luxury in the Middle East. Sugar-addiction
is also a big problem in Egypt. Egyptians from all walks of life add sugar in their
tea, and have five or six of these per day, each with two or three teaspoons of sugar
in it. 16. Turkey
While nearly 1 billion people around the world are starving, obesity is becoming a severe
health problem for the rest of the world and Turkey is no exception. According to the Turkish
Health Ministry, over 30% of all adults of 19 years of age and above in Turkey are considered
to be extremely overweight. In Turkish children aged between 7 and 14-years-old, the prevalence
of obesity is 12-15%, while 27-28% of adult males and 32-35% of adult females in Turkey
are classified as obese. Besides smoking and alcohol consumption, the most concerning issue
for Turkey’s health future is inactivity. It is estimated that less than 20% of Turks
can be considered active, and over 50% of Turkish children only spend two hours outside
the house at the weekend and even less during the week.
Before we move on to #15, quickly subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss any of
our upcoming videos! 15. Jordan
Government health reports in Jordan indicate that about 40% of Jordanian adults are overweight
and child obesity stands at more than 50%. There are also over 300,000 new cases of diabetes
in Jordan each year, mostly related to excessive weight gain. In Jordan, almost twice as many
women are considered obese as men, which is why Jordan’s Queen Rania has launched the
Royal Health Awareness Society initiative to increase public awareness and promote the
benefits of sports and leading a healthy life. This project aims to create health-promoting
environments in schools that reflect positively on students’ physical and social growth,
as well as on their academic performance. 14. Libya
Countries such as Libya, have only recently opened up their markets to foreign import
and investment, and are now consuming diets high in sugar and saturated fat as people
perceive fast, frozen and processed foods of the West as symbols of luxury and progression.
Libya is one of the North African countries most affected by over-eating. Forbes magazine
has ranked Libya as 78 out of 194 countries in the world’s fattest countries list, with
64% of Libyan adults classified as either overweight or obese. Libya also has one of
the highest rates of late-onset type 2 diabetes in the Arab region, and very high rates of
coronary and skeletal health issues caused by excess weight. Obesity in Libya seems to
progressively increase with age, and is two times more common among Libyan women than
men. This is because Libyan women tend to lead more sedentary lifestyles and are not
encouraged to participate in sports or exercise. 13. Qatar
Qatar’s obesity problem is nothing new. In 1980, Qatar was the fourth most obese nation
in the world and a recent report has revealed that 22.1% of girls under 20 and 33.5% of
boys under 20 in this Arab nation are now classified as obese. According to the International
Association for the Study of Obesity, Qatar has the 6th highest rate of obesity among
boys in the Middle East and North Africa region. One reason for the obesity trend is the lack
of exercise and poorly designed pedestrian friendly cities. Like other oil-rich nations,
Qatar has fast-forwarded across decades of development in a short time, leaving behind
the physically demanding life of the desert for air-conditioned comfort, house servants,
and fast food. Although the type of food eaten in Qatar has changed, the cultural traditions
surrounding food have not. Food is often consumed communally, which makes it nearly impossible
to ensure proper portions and person who refuses to eat when food is offered is seen as offensive
and shameful. 12. Saudi Arabia
Obesity in Saudi Arabia is a growing health concern with health officials stating that
it is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in Saudi Arabia. An alarming 70% of
Saudi Arabia citizens are overweight or obese and a recent study showed that a whopping
$135 million per year is spent by people suffering from obesity on treatment, especially diabetes
which is prevalent among a large section of Saudi women. Some of the factors that contribute
to the rising obesity rates in this country include the fact that cities not designed
for walking, scorching temperatures for most of the year which make outdoor physical activity
almost impossible, high levels of work-related stress, and growing popularity of Western-style
fast food. Another big problem is that obesity surgery isn’t covered under health insurance
in Saudi Arabia even though it is classified as a disease, and covered under insurance
in most developed countries all over the world. 11. United States of America
The country that most people think is the fattest in the world is actually not even
in the top 10. Still, obesity remains a huge public health problem in the US. As of 2018,
over 41% of American adults between 40 and 59 years of age are not just overweight but
obese and the obesity rates keep rising. Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or more
and severe obesity in the US — a BMI of 40 or more — has increased dramatically
during the past decade. While the latest survey data doesn’t explain why Americans continue
to get heavier, nutritionists and other experts cite lifestyle, genetics, and, most importantly,
a poor diet as factors. Fast food sales in the United States rose 22.7% from 2012 to
2017, while packaged food sales rose 8.8%. And it certainly doesn’t help that in recent
NAFTA negotiations, the Trump administration proposed rules that would limit the ability
of the US, Mexico, and Canada to put labels on packaged foods warning about the health
risks of high sugar and fat content. 10. Kuwait
Oil has brought great wealth to the Persian Gulf countries but has also caused huge changes
in lifestyles. Fast cars and fast food have seen obesity-related illnesses rise in countries
like Kuwait, where as much as 88% of people are overweight. 15% of the adult population
in Kuwait has diabetes, with 50% of adults over 45 living with the disease. On top of
that, 22 of every 100 children have developed diabetes as a result of an unhealthy weight.
The increased risk of excess weight or obesity in the fourth-richest country in the world
is due to a combination of overeating calorie-dense, high-fat foods and sedentary lifestyles. Most
of the Kuwait population prefers meals consisting of processed ingredients with preservatives,
saturated fats, and hydrogenated oil over traditional foods, while advertisements for
unhealthy junk food are seen everywhere and public schools can freely sell candy, chocolate,
and soda to their students. 9. Federated States of Micronesia
Changing diets and physical activity patterns are driving a nutrition transition across
global populations where urbanization, economic growth, technological change, and cultural
shifts have led to decreased physical activity and increased consumption of fat, sugar, and
processed foods. And countries that are economically dependent on the US like Micronesia suffer
the most. Frozen turkey tails, which are deemed “inedible” in the United States because
of their high fat percentage, are exported into Micronesian markets where they are sold
for under $1 a pound, which has led to an alarming rate of obesity in Federated States
of Micronesia and extremely high rates of diabetes and hypertension. In this island
nation, over 88% of adults aged 20 or older are overweight, 59% are obese, and 24% are
extremely obese. 8. Kiribati
Not only does the economically impoverished country of Kiribati have a life expectancy
at birth of just 60 years and an infant mortality rate of 54 deaths per 1,000 births, it also
has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. Westernization of the Kiribati
diet has increased the incidence of weight-related diseases such as diabetes, gout, hypertension,
coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancers. Foreign aid and private remittances have negatively
impacted local food producing activities and rather than obtaining local food, most food
in Kiribati is now imported. These imported nutritionally inferior foods include low-fiber
bread and rice, refined sugar, tinned meats and soft drinks. Over 80% of adult men and
women in Kiribati are obese and the prevalence of overweight is expected to increase in both
men and women over the next 10 years. 7. Samoa
Samoa has one of the highest obesity rates in the world. This American-owned island,
which forms part of the Samoan archipelago chain in the Pacific Ocean, only has a population
of 700,000, but, according to World Health Organization records, 94%, or 658,000 of them
are overweight and almost one third has diabetes. Poor eating habits are being passed on from
generation to generation causing a multitude of related health problems and having rejected
local food in favor of processed western junk, 9 out of 10 people on Samoa are now overweight.
What’s even more alarming is that the island population is now giving birth to overweight
babies. One study found that at just 15 months old, 40% of boys and 30% of girl babies in
Samoa are classed as overweight. 6. Tonga
Like most Pacific nations, the Royal Kingdom of Tonga seems like the very embodiment of
a tropical paradise. Even the name of its capital Nuku’alofa means “abode of love”.
But today there’s big trouble in paradise and the trouble is of course the growing obesity
epidemic. Over 90% of adults in this island nation of 107,000 people are either obese
or overweight and almost a quarter of Tongans aged over 30 years are suffering from Type
2 diabetes. In Tonga, average life expectancy has dropped from 72 ½ years in 2012 to 67
years today, mainly due to obesity-related cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Besides
sedentary lifestyle, a major contributing factor is the popularity of imported junk
meat such as tinned corned beef, cheap chicken, turkey tails and mutton flaps. Obesity and
subsequent diabetes triggered by poor health choices have had a devastating effect on most
families in Tonga. Every family has at least one in wheelchair or someone who has had their
foot or leg amputated because of diabetic foot infections or sepsis. 5. Niue
Niue – an island country located 2,400 kilometers northeast of New Zealand and with a population
of just 1,624 – is yet another Pacific nation where obesity is the norm. Finding “real
food” is no easy feat. Supermarkets are filled with rows and rows of sugary sodas,
juice drinks, chocolates, packaged biscuits, and white bread. The freezers are packed with
processed meat, sausages, crumbed chicken, frozen pies, and tubs of ice-cream, all courtesy
of monthly shipments from New Zealand. The result is that over 90% of the population
on Niue is now obese, while heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases
and diabetes rates are growing at an alarming rate.
4. Tuvalu In Tuvalu, the fourth fattest country in the
world, the main reasons behind obesity are excessive consumption of fast food and exported
food due to geographical constraints. Since 1975, obesity in Tuvalu increased by more
than 20% and now every 9 out of 10 people are either overweight or obese. The average
BMI is 31 for women and 27.8 for men, which is classified as obesity. The risks of having
a BMI over 30 are many, including higher risks of heart disease, type-2 diabetes and different
forms of cancer. A BMI of 30 is directly associated with increased incidences of breast, endometrial,
ovarian, kidney, esophageal, pancreatic, colon and rectal cancers. As a result, life expectancy
for women in Tuvalu is just 68.41 years and 64.01 years for men. It is estimated that
80% of premature heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancers in Tuvalu
could be prevented by healthy diet and regular exercise.
3. Marshall Islands Processed, calorie-dense, imported products
such as spam or corned beef are staple foods on Marshall Islands, a tiny country located
near equator. With the majority of its 53,000 population obese, Marshall Islands is the
third fattest country in the world. Most residents of this island nation lead a sedentary lifestyle,
while imported foods are given higher social status than local, healthier foods. Another
contributing factor to the obesity epidemic is the fact that a large body size on Marshall
Islands was historically associated with wealth, power and beauty. But what’s most alarming
is that high rates of obesity appear within just 15 months of birth.
2. Palau Located South of Japan in the Western Pacific
Ocean, Palau is a country that contains approximately 340 islands. While the natural beauty of this
Pacific paradise is undisputed, Palau has a serious obesity problem and is currently
ranked as the second fattest country in the world. In comparison to Palau, the U.S. is
only at about 34% of the population being obese and considering the fact that the U.S.
has a population of over 320 million while Palau has a population of only 20,000 – these
statistics are astounding. Because of the rising obesity problem, the death rate per
1000 people on Palau islands has increased from 6.8 in 2008 to 8.2 in 2017. Since Palau
gets most of their food supply from the U.S., it means that what the millions of Americans
eat is the same that a handful of Palau residents eat. This country is also so spread out that
it is very hard to get the healthy food across the islands, and without the wide availability
of healthy choices, people turn to easier and cheaper options such as fast food.
1. Nauru You’ve probably already guessed that the
#1 fattest country in the world has to be in the Pacific. Nauru, an island country in
Micronesia, has the highest percentage of overweight inhabitants among all countries.
Over 95% of its residents as overweight and the obesity rate is 71.7%. The average body
weight among Nauruans is estimated to be approximately 100 kilograms and Nauru has an average BMI
between 34 and 35. Before Nauru gained independence in 1968,
the country had a culture of fishing and gardening and the Nauruan diet was primarily composed
of fish, fruits, root vegetables, and coconuts. Black-and-white-photographs taken during this
time show well-built and fit men and women. But after Nauru gained independence, the import
of western food dramatically reduced the existing culture of fishing and gardening, and from
the 1980s, Nauruans adopted a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet. This resulted in what
the World Health Organizations has described as “the worst health conditions in the Pacific
region”. Does your country have an obesity epidemic?
How do you think governments should deal with this growing public health problem? Leave
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