According to the WHO, there are 1.5 million adults who are overweight and obese. The following list expands on the top 10 list of countries increasing overweight population provided by the WHO in 2007 and 2009. It delves into the crux of the problems countries face. The emphasis and focal point of this article is on the changes overtime, not specifically identified by the WHO.
1. Samoa: 83%
83% of Samoans are overweight. The reason why Samoa is # 1 is because it has a big population that is obese. According to WHO, American Samoans (of the Samoan Islands) are the fattest people in the world. 93.5% of the population is obese. The high numbers are due to the increasing migration and cultural exchanges between the West and the Samoan people. Samoan people are bringing in Western ideas for the diets. The diets are not nutritional and are high in sugar and in saturated fats.
2. Nauru: 94.5%
This tiny country has an average BMI between 34 and 35. The blame and finger is pointed towards the western Fast Food businesses which now operate inside the country. The population has become more urbanized and has tried to rely less on traditional diets and more on what we call junk food. Before junk food, obesity was never a problem. As of 2007, they have the highest overweight population. As is the problem with many South Pacific islands, Naura is expected to face such issues because of its dependence on Western cultures.
3. Federated States of Micronesia: 91.1%
Micronesia is a country with a history of dependence on foreign influences. In the last 50 years the country has been extremely influenced by the United States, who took over the country after World War II. Particularly they have changed their diets to the suggestions of the Americans. Foreign relations have allowed the country to bring in imported goods. The people are now eating more salted and processed foods which are higher in saturated fats such as corned beef, turkey tails and spam. It is thus not surprising that this country has the second highest population of overweight people. WHO predicts that the population will increase by 2015 as long as foreign influences are present.
4. United States: 74.1%
If you are wondering why United States is on this list, you should watch the documentary Super Size Me! Americans do not realize what affect McDonald’s and other fast food industries have on their weight and health. Today, 1 in 3 kids are overweight and/or obese. They are performing activities such as watching TV, which involve little exercise. 68% of adults are also overweight and have BMI between 25 and 29. It is no surprise that many Americans are approaching obesity and that obesity has quadrupled between 1986 and 2000.
They have no one to blame but themselves. They are the founders of many fast food franchises such as KFC, Taco Bell and McDonalds.
5. Mexico: 68.1%
Within the last decade there has been a surge in soft drink availability and fast food industries in Mexico. There are now a total of more than 200 McDonald’s in the country. 71% of women and 66% of men are affected by health problems associated with being overweight and obese. People choose deep fried foods over healthy ones anywhere and anytime in the country. The increasing influence of fast food and soft drinks caused a nation with an obese/overweight population of fewer than 10% in 1986 to 68.1% in 2007. This is a big change which is leading in the wrong direction. The effect is enormous as the Mexican Diabetes Foundation believes that 6 to 10 million Mexicans are affected by diabetes, which is caused by obesity and overweight.
6. United Kingdom: 63.8%
The Independent reported that 2 million children in the United Kingdom are overweight, 700,000 of which are obese. This translates into 1 in 6 United Kingdom children between the ages of 2 and 15 being overweight. In 2009, BBC reported that 1 in 4 adults were obese in the United Kingdom. The reason for such high numbers is unbalanced diets and a lack of physical activities. WHO believes that the population will increase and projects that 80% of men (older than 30) and 73% of women (older than 30) will be overweight by 2015 in the United Kingdom. Right now it is has the largest obese population in Europe.
7. Canada: 61.1%
Adults: Obesity – 23%; Overweight – 36%
Children: Obesity – 8%; Overweight – 18%
Canada can blame these statistics on their neighbours down south. The number of children who are overweight and obese has tripled within the last 25 years. This increase is due to the fact that children and adults are eating fast food and not exercising to equalize the calories. WHO expects the population to rise by 3% in men and 4% in women over the age of 30.
Canadians are thus no better than our neighbours and cannot make fun of Americans. In fact there is a slight difference between the two. 1 in 4 Canadians are obese while 1 in 3 Americans are obese. The effects are enormous and more individuals are at risk of disability, heart disease and premature death. Given that the Canadian health care system is governmentally funded, those who are obese with health problems are flooding hospitals and medical bills.
8. Germany: 58.9%
2007 statistics found that Germany had the most overweight men and women population. According to German Federal Statistics Office, more than 50% of the population is suffering from being overweight. The country blames government cuts on these statistics. Recently Germany made cuts to Physical Education classes and to funding nutritionists. Others blame the problems on Germany’s love for beer.
9. Egypt: 69.4%
Egypt has an increasing female population that is overweight: 76%. These statistics are expected to rise because females are refrained from performing any exercises. Egypt is thus considered the fattest African country, in a continent faced with famine, poverty and other health related issues.
10. Malta: 68.7%
Maltese males are also becoming increasingly overweight: 36%. These statistics are expected to rise as men are increasingly drinking alcohol. Monthly binge drinking has more than tripled in the last 6 years. Again poor diets and lack of exercise are the main causes of the obesity and overweight and its rise in Malta.
World Health Organisation (WHO), http://www.who.int.
Forbes Magazine, World’s Fattest Countries, http://www.forbes.com/2007/02/07/worlds-fattest-countries-forbeslife-cx_ls_0208worldfat.html.