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Obesity Rates By Country

Obesity Rates By Country
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Obesity Rates Around the Globe

Obesity poses a formidable challenge to global health, contributing significantly to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even certain types of cancer. As worldwide dietary patterns continue to shift towards an increased consumption of energy-dense foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt, obesity rates have alarmingly risen almost threefold since the 1970s. Globally, about 13% of the world’s adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) was tagged as obese in 2016. 

The data on obesity rates by countries presents a critical insight not just into the health and lifestyle patterns within specific territories, but also their healthcare capacity, socio-economic climate, and food systems. 

Key findings from the data include: 

  • Island countries in the Pacific such as Nauru (61.0%) and Cook Islands (55.9%) have the highest obesity rates in the world, which can be primarily attributed to local dietary habits and limited availability of fresh, nutritious food.
  • Conversely, some countries in Asia have the lowest rates of obesity, with Vietnam marking the lowest at 2.1%. Countries like Japan (4.3%) and India (3.9%), despite their large population sizes, also show notably low obesity rates, largely due to traditional diets low in processed foods and high in grains and vegetables. 
  • The United States, often theorized as the epicenter of the obesity epidemic, ranks 12th in the world, with 36.2% of its adult population categorized as obese.
  • Emerging economies such as Saudi Arabia (35.4%), Qatar (35.1%), and United Arab Emirates (31.7%) also show high obesity rates, signaling the shift towards increasingly sedentary lifestyles and high consumption of calorie-rich, fast foods in these regions. 

By exploring obesity rates country-wise, we aim to uncover the dynamics driving this global health crisis, assess regional disparities, and evaluate current prevention strategies. Furthermore, this could lead us towards healthier practices and more effective policies that can turn the tide in this battle of the bulge.

Countries with the Highest Obesity Rate

According to the collected data, the ten countries with the highest rates of obesity among adults are Nauru, Cook Islands, Palau, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Niue, Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, and Micronesia.

Nauru sets the record for the highest adult obesity rate, with a staggering 61.0% of its population falling within this category. Following not too far behind, Cook Islands report a 55.9% obesity rate amongst adults. Third on the list is Palau, with a rate of 55.3% in adult obesity.

The Marshall Islands and Tuvalu have a comparable situation, with obesity rates at 52.9% and 51.6% respectively. Niue was next, reporting a precise 50.0% obesity rate amongst adults.

Rounding up the bottom four are Tonga (48.2%), Samoa (47.3%), Kiribati (46.0%), and Micronesia (45.8%). Although these nations have slightly lower rates than the others, the prevalence of obesity remains an overwhelming issue.

10 Countries with the Highest Obesity Rates:

  1. Nauru - 61.0%
  2. Cook Islands - 55.9%
  3. Palau - 55.3%
  4. Marshall Islands - 52.9%
  5. Tuvalu - 51.6%
  6. Niue - 50.0%
  7. Tonga - 48.2%
  8. Samoa - 47.3%
  9. Kiribati - 46.0%
  10. Micronesia - 45.8%

Countries With Lowest Obesity Rate

The ten countries with the lowest obesity rates are Vietnam, Bangladesh, Timor-Leste, India, Nepal, Japan, Ethiopia, South Korea, Eritrea, and Sri Lanka. Leading the list with the lowest rate of obesity is Vietnam, where only 2.1% of the adults have obesity. In Bangladesh, 3.6% of the adult population are reported to be obese, making it the second country with the lowest obesity rate. Timor-Leste reports an obesity rate of 3.8% among adults. 

India, known for its culture of Yoga and Ayurveda, has an adult obesity rate of merely 3.9%. In Nepal, 4.1% of adults are obese, whereas in Japan and Ethiopia, the obesity rates among adults are 4.3% and 4.5% respectively. South Korea boasts of an obesity rate as low as 4.7%. Eritrea has an adult obesity rate of 5% and lastly, having an obesity rate of 5.2%, Sri Lanka takes the tenth place in countries with the lowest obesity rates.

The ten lowest obesity rates by countries is:

  1. Vietnam - 2.1% Obese Adults 
  2. Bangladesh - 3.6% Obese Adults 
  3. Timor-Leste - 3.8% Obese Adults 
  4. India - 3.9% Obese Adults
  5. Nepal - 4.1% Obese Adults 
  6. Japan - 4.3% Obese Adults 
  7. Ethiopia - 4.5% Obese Adults 
  8. South Korea - 4.7% Obese Adults 
  9. Eritrea - 5.0% Obese Adults
  10. Sri Lanka - 5.2% Obese Adults

By Country

Full Data Set

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