Here’s one metric where the U.S. – thankfully -- is not number one. The chart below, made by Ramon Martinez, a technical specialist in health metrics for the World Health Organization, shows 188 countries ranked in descending order by the percentage of their population that is overweight or obese, which is defined as having a body mass index of over 25. The horizontal lines indicate how that percentage changed between 1990 and 2013, based on data from the 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study. (Click to enlarge the graphic.)
Tonga, Samoa and Kiribati, small island nations in the Pacific, top the list, with roughly four out of five of their citizens being overweight or obese. They are followed by a slew of Middle Eastern countries – Qatar, Kuwait, Libya, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Mexico, Turkey, Chile and Iceland also rank above the U.S. The U.S. comes in 27th with 66.3 percent of its population being obese or overweight.
The least overweight countries by this measure are Ethiopia and North Korea, with 6.1 percent and 4.4 percent of their population being overweight or obese, respectively.
You can visit Martinez’s site to see the interactive version, which allows you to sort the information by age, gender, country and other factors. If you rejigger the interactive to just look at the percent of population that is obese (a BMI of over 30), the U.S. moves up to 19th place.
Source: Martinez R. Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity visualization. Health Intelligence, 2015.
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