Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

The World’s Top 10 Fattest Countries


The World Health Organization has recently released the results of health surveys taken between 2000 and 2008 on world obesity, and the news isn’t pretty.

Since obesity rates can be an indicator of a nation’s nutritional trends, health and culture, we thought it might be useful information for the expat to know. Here are the 10 fattest countries of the last decade:

(1) American Samoa, 93.5% (of the population that is overweight)

It’s a staggering number. Many Pacific Island nations have had trouble with weight in modern times mostly because they have abandoned their traditional foods for cheap, easily attained processed foods from the West. Perhaps no other Pacific Island has had such access to these habits as American Samoa.

(2) Kiribati, 81.5%

Like American Samoa, Kiribati has been flooded with processed foods like Spam and mutton flaps (fatty sheep scraps), often sold at lower prices than native food.

(3) U.S.A., 66.7%

Well, the U.S.A. doesn’t top the list, but it’s close, and it falls behind only a small islands nation and one of its own unincorporated territories. The United States of Processed food, high fructose corn syrup and fast food has been high on this list over the last half century.

(4) Germany, 66.5%

The fattest country in Europe no doubt owes their portly woes to lots of beer, fatty foods and inactivity.

(5) Egypt, 66%

Obesity among Egyptian women is particularly high, often attributed to cultural taboos on women exercising or playing sports.

(6) Bosnia-Herzegovina, 62.9%

Once considered a problem only in high-income countries, obesity is dramatically on the rise in low- and middle-income countries like Bosnia-Herzegovina, where smoking, drinking and eating unhealthy foods spiked during the war that ravaged the country from 1992 to 1995.

(7) New Zealand, 62.7%

Obesity is a growing concern for New Zealand. While its native Maori have struggled with weight due to loss of traditional culture like other Pacific Islanders– they are mostly just a scapegoat. New Zealand’s entire population is getting fatter at a rapidly increased rate.

(8) Israel, 61.9%

In the past 30 years, the number of obese Israelis has tripled, evidence the country is truly part of the Western world.

(9) Croatia, 61.4%

Croatia, where cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, is also a victim of the globalization of the food market, which tends to suppress traditional diets as cheaper processed foods from the U.S. and Europe flood store shelves.

(10) United Kingdom, 61%

A recent survey ranked Brits among the bottom third of European nations in physical exercise, leading Health Secretary Andy Burnham to comment, “We’re really in danger of being known as the best in the world for watching sport, but one of the worst for getting out there and doing it for ourselves.”


Source: Global Post


167 thoughts on “The World’s Top 10 Fattest Countries

  1. What about Puerto Rico?? Go to the Puerto Rican parade in NYC and you will see what I mean.

  2. @to orga: um… orga was right. Puerto Rico is a part of the United States. The only reason it’s not officially a State is because the residents prefer it that way (I think they get cheaper taxes or something along those lines.)
    Besides that, @wsr3670, if they’re Puerto Rican and live in NYC, they’re Americans, and therefore count in the USA count, anyway.

  3. Um, I don’t think it’s a part of the U.S. We don’t keep Puerto Rico so we don’t have to pay for the damages from natural disasters each year.

  4. Lol at the ignorant people. Puerto Rico is not a state because the residents do not want it to be one. Any damage that it incurs from natural disasters is payed for by American taxes, both from Puerto Ricans and continental Americans. Aatika, you’re very amusing. Sometimes when I’m bored I try to take logic from people like you and try to find out how your thoughts are developed. Very challenging stuff.

  5. Wow,the pick makes sense…Too bad that americans are so fat,they could be nice people,at least kind like british or “happy” like germans.I don’t think americans are happy.America is an unhappy country.Americans are over 300 million,not all are fat.So 66.7% of the total of population is fat.Circa over 200.1 million.Surprising!The rest has a normal weight.Lke… 1/3 of the population!!!!However I’m surprised about Croatia.I’m croatian and I don’t know why Croatia made in the list.Mostly,croatians are healthy,at least where I live.Well,I don’t know…

  6. Wow, talk about the blind leading the blind.

    Yes, Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the US.

    What you all seem to be missing is that American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the US as well.

  7. Hey pplz in the u.s. Well the part I live in we are fairly slim. For example I am a 14 y/o an I am five ft four an I only way110-115

  8. Interesting. Thought the island nation of Nauru was #1, last time I read something like this.

    Side note: Those who said that Puerto Rico is part of the United States are CORRECT. It’s a U.S. commonwealth along with American Samoa, Marshall Islands, Guam, and a few others that are also commonwealths. They are NOT states, but are part of the United States nonetheless.

  9. I’m surprised Canada isn’t on this list… I live in Toronto & I see fat people everywhere! I was just talking about this with a friend today (Which is why I checked out this article) & we both figured the U.S was the fattest nation with Canada probably coming close, glad we were wrong.

    Even more surprising is seeing the U.K on here, I mean they’re not known for their good food… I guess it’s all the crumpets they eat during tea time.

  10. (sarcasm) Let’s all get upset and not google anything but be extremely self righteous. That will be fun!

  11. Isn’t it ironic that the usa is the fattest industrialized country in the world and we think we have the right to tell the world what to do? What are we going to do if another country disobeys us? Run after them!lmao! We are by far the biggest hypocrites on earth.

  12. Anyone notice that most of the unhealthy, processed foods that “enlarge”other nations (so to speak) are from the USA? … I’m from the USA… and I love my country but this is shaming.

  13. Obesity may well be America’s second biggest problem… after ignorance! :O

    I am always amazed at how americans can live their whole lives oblivious to everything outside their own country (and apparently inside as well). I can’t help but pity those who lack the intelligence to see through the propaganda that is being fed to them every day.

    “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” ~ James Madison (your fourth president, by the way)

  14. ok why isnt mexico on this list??? and to reply to “Hhhhhhhhhhhh” i am 5foot 4 and i only weight 100lbs… but i am freakishly skinny =(

  15. well i guess its good we have freedom of speech… otherwise the whole country would be screwed

  16. I guess that why its called the free world. But in Alaska, for you single ladies it 7 men to 1 woman. Went there a couple years with a friend{male)uggh. Hey and us americans are only going to get fatter because of the sit at home technology. Got to go after reading this I think Im going to take a walk.

  17. Well…now ya know why they are having to build so many…large…detainment camps for when/if martial law occurs. Fuckin gotta make room for ze fattehs. Oi.

  18. Why are all these national overweight percentage studies so different to one another?

    I’ve recently been in Germany and New Zealand and find those figures extremely hard to believe – I also went through Australia and find its omission equally hard (especially as other studies seem to put it front and center).

  19. What about my neighbor’s family? Have you seen them. Why aren’t they on this list. They can’t even get out of their cars.

  20. I read that Tonga, Nauru and Tuvalu also have tremendous obesity rates. If people aren’t near-bedridden, they’re on crutches, wheelchairs or are making regular visits to dialysis clinics.

    Behold the power of spam, it can make you diabetic in no time.

  21. You are all idiots. “Why isn’t *blah blah* on here”
    “I’ve been to *blah blah* they’re not fat”
    “I live in *blah blah* we’re not fat”
    It’s and average you twits. There are such things as different regions. When you live somewhere or look around somewhere and don’t see an abundance of fat people, it’s because they’re somewhere else, and the same goes for seeing a to of fat people, there are more skinny people elsewhere. Learn how statistics work you imbeciles.

  22. Canada didn’t make it ??? Come on, something is wrong here. I live in Toronto and I also have seen a lot of fat people walking or sitting around. I myself could lose 10-15lbs of Fat 🙁 .

    Today on the News DENMARK just made a FAT tax =) lol . October 3, 2011

  23. Nutrition should be a required class in schools these days. So many people dying of preventable diseases because of ignorance regarding food choices. Most schools think that memorizing the periodic table is more important than providing practical knowledge. Oh well…

  24. i live in the uk. I like this country apart from the winters, and the idiotic governments we always seem to get, but people are pretty fat over here. Exercise is a dirty word for a lot of people, and they dont understand that you dont have to run a marathon every day just to be healthy. Also people either cant be bothered to learn to cook, or they just cant be bothered to cook fresh healthy meals. The only thing that gets a lot of people to exercise here, is because they are going on holiday or something, and then they go to the gym and kill themselves for 2 weeks before the holiday, or they go on what is essentially a starvation diet. Then they put the weight back on during the holiday, and completely let themselves go again once they are home. Far easier to just eat better and have a long walk every day, and stay healthy all year round without killing yourself i say. But i suppose it keeps gym instructors in the money.

  25. people are fucking ignorant! i live with a friend and her daughter constantly eats..alll day! shes only 9, and people mistake her for a jr high student! yeahh, shes pretty big. bigger than me and im 18. i mean its not entirely her fault shes big, its her moms. her mom is too lazy too cook healthy food and buys fast food and microwavable food all the time. dang, i feel sorry for fat people. like, how can someone let themselves get that big! gluttony..smh.

  26. why do people think australia would even be close.. there are more obese people per capita than people in the us

  27. I’m Australian and all I see is sausage roll people everywhere. There are people that are more than obese and still eat truck loads. They pretty much roll around than anything else. They should be Australia at like #1. And yes, the majority of food that is making us fat is from America. Lolz. I also think they should ban white bread. I even saw on the tv that they are or are considering on puting a tax on fatty foods?

  28. It’s just another US territory! Don’t fool yourselves, eeh? And so is mexico! Mexicans are the main reason USA is number 2 on the list! That’s right! I said number 2 because American Samoa is US! Effin retards who published this! The big question is, if everyone moves up a spot thanks to some idiots listing american samoa incorrectly, then who is the new number 10?
    See you at Starbucks my friends! Having a fatty energy drink!

  29. Are drunk and lazy because they are still upset about losing WWII and not bearing the fruits of Mein Kampf, having to live with non-Aryans, and with the world becoming globalized how will they ever be allowed to reach this greatness again? Jews and negros are multiplying like mexicans! They are doomed forever. It must suck being german. And BMW’s as cool as they are, never get good service records…Are Japs really the perfect race?

  30. One problem in many parts of America is now you have to work so much just to keep up with the cost of living there’s less time to exercise. Also now its harder to afford to go to a gym with the economy. And the crazy work schedules they want to put up on to boot! No more 9-5 or 8-4 for most people. Its crazy. But also a lot of Americans do like to sit around and play video games or surf the net. It takes will to break the vicious cycle. But its worth it.

  31. I cannot believe all the ignorant responses. This list is for the fattest countries in the world not I now have an excuse to bash other countries. Number one Puerto Rico is part of the US and has been since 1898. To say they don’t pay taxes is pure ignorance. They do pay taxes to Puerto Rico, similar to each state paying it’s own taxes. There are also thousands of Americans from the main land living there who pay federal taxes not to mention all the soldiers from the Island in our military who also pay federal taxes along with risking their lives (since WW 1).

    Do we need to bash Germans as well. I’m not even going to comment the gentleman from Croatia who said Americans are not happy, it’s beyond ridiculous.

    Its sad to see many used this little survey as an excuse to voice the prejudices rather than a warning to take care of our health.

  32. @Me
    I completely agree. It is absolutely pathetic how ignorant people are about their bodies. They just put so much trash and unhealthy garbage into their bodies, and they have no idea what they’re eating, but they don’t care because it’s food. But that’s not the worst part, I admit that I don’t always pay attention to my eating either. The worst part is the absolute lack of exercise and straight up laziness. It’s not that hard to get enough exercise to stay in a reasonable shape. Really, all someone has to do is take a walk! I know tons of kids that don’t do thousands of sports and aren’t health nuts that are still in shape. They say they’re doing so much to stop obesity, when all their doing is putting some healthy options right next to the fried shit. How about you actually tell us what that fried stuff will do to us? And instead of being scared of “lawsuits” and “emotional distress”, make us actually participate in gym. There’s so much we could easily do to fix our obesity problem, and with such a staggering percentage, we need to fix it. At least before out country sinks into the ocean from the weight….

  33. This list is old. I heard Australia, Mexico, UAE, and Kuwait have pulled ahead of America in terms of percentage of overweight people.

  34. PR is a common wealth…and if people knew Puerto Rican History: Like when the USA Shipped TONS OF GOLD WEEKLY from Puerto Rico to the US. Then You would know why they “Love” us soooo much.

    You don’t leave PR with ten truck-fulls of gold a week without a Big-@ss Smile on your face and “God Bless Puerto Rico” on your mind.

    P.S. If you haven’t lived in any country for enough time to learn their culture and history…you know NOTHING about them.

    So who knows…maybe they traded all that gold for Mc Donalds food…cause people are fatter than Americans here in PR.

  35. Amazing article.. obesity is actually a problem with all kinds of junk food available… worse thing it starts at childhood with Mac Donalds, apple pies and sodas…

  36. Israel is as fat as the UK?
    These are made up numbers. Has the author even to these countries!

  37. Puerto Rico is a part of the United States and its also a country (not independant), I know thats hard for people figure out but thats waht it is. Just like American Samoa.

    Notice how its developed countries with high standrds of living and the absolutely impoverished countries that rely 100% on imported cheap American rubbish food on this list. Shows that higher incomes like in the USA leads to more sitting in front of HD TV’s eating takeaways that you bought from a drive through in your SUV that can barely fit your rotund behind.

    No asian countries on this list… I might buy some sushi for lunch today!

    It is a bit frustrating that international researchers keep publishing these lists and they are totally different.

  38. When do people get educated!? Fatty food is not the main problem. Actually, fatty food in fish and meat is really healthy and important to a diet.
    What is the main problem is processed food, all the unnecessary carbs (sugar in all forms, pasta etc.) AND bread, which is poison (gluten and carbs) for our bodies.

  39. Should we really vilify bread? Haven’t we eaten it for centuries without too many deleterious effects? Maybe it isn’t as “healthy” as a spinach and tuna smoothie .. but “poison”? Come on. I think the problem can probably be summed up in two parts: inactivity (and it isn’t always a TV, usually it’s [also] a desk and a computer) and portion sizes /accessibility of the “rubbish” food. In any event, it doesn’t matter where you live, you don’t have to eat it.

  40. I’m from Italy and my country is 111 th on the list (not so fat then). we eat everyday(really, not joking) Pasta (sometimes with bread) and pizza at least once a week. The difference is in the moderation, pasta is like a starter in smaller portions, bread also (without butter). pizza is way much lighter(thin crust and almost no salami), cheese (fresh mozzarella) is roughly half the calories than cheddar and we usually drink wine everyday but with moderation(1-2 glasses). in the south (where i am from) i ve rarely seen drunk young people. everything is produced locally, the only thing we eat in cans is tomato sauce…think about it. moderation is the key and local, good stuff. pepple eat pasta, cheese, pizza on a regular basis… we eat with moderation except at sunday lunch wehre people tend to splurge but we basically pick from every plate without even realizing. until the 90’s there were only 5-10 mac donalds in my country., now there are more and it is considered exotic food. now i live in canad and here they put free french fries(and lots of it) in every plate you order.i lived in argentina and in canada too and there portions are huge and i gained a lot of weight during the years. now i lost 54 pounds(now i have a normal weight) in 8-9 months just reverting to my old style of eating….think about it..

  41. It does suck that am.Samoa a small island in polynesia is number one in obesity in dis list,im samoan mix nd i think in our culture ur frowned upon if ur not big or sumthing like dat(i kno dats not good but yea),nd dat its rude to not eat wen dey offer u food.Food is one of da main things in our culture nd deres alot of american westerner influence dat hav changed da Fa’aSamoa life style from wat it once was,nd i think in polynesia we really need to educate ourselves on our eating nd stuff nd making a better future for r people nd r country or er island lol…but hopefully soon we will change if ever nd grow healthier nd more knowledgeble of wat we as people can offer nd be if we stop sabatoging r self wich is wat i think. 🙂

  42. The issue with wheat products is the glutein. Only certain populations are able to digest it, usually middle europeans and arabic countries as they have had wheat longer and have developed the ability to digest it. Nutritionally, it is basically empty when compared with other foods. It is, like rice, potatoes and corn, a “filler” food – and will make you fat if overly indulged in. Unfortunately it is easy to overindulge, because it is everywhere in pizza, pasta, breads, cakes, cookies, cereals. It can cause bloating and weight gain in susceptible individuals. I experiemented with diet by going on a restricted caloric intake regimine, and discovered that eating wheat products, although within the caloric limits, will cause my weight loss to come to a screeching halt, whereas the consumption of a little bit of hard candy or the occassional glass of pop or juice doesn’t. I know Italians like to brag about the effectiveness and healthiness of their Mediteranean diet, but it is only true when looking at the fish, fresh vegetables and olive oil, full of omega 3, vitamins and minerals. The over indulgence in wheat products is confined more to the southerly regions and in the north the population depends more upon rice and lentils as the staple in their diets. I think the Japanese, Chinese or even Caribbean diets would be far more healthy and conducive to maintaining ideal weight.

  43. “Well, the U.S.A. doesn’t top the list, but it’s close, and it falls behind only a small islands nation and one of its own unincorporated territories”

    Biased against the US much?

  44. Why do you say “biased,” Richard? Has it occurred to you that it may be simply a result of a study? Think about it, and also open your eyes. The US is full of obese people. Now go, for example, to Paris. There, the people walk a lot, don’t drink gallons of Coke, and tend to eat real food (read about “pink slime” in your hamburger from fast food places). It really does make a difference. Especially notice the kids in different countries. In Mexico, where the “refresco” (soda pop) is universal, obesity is universal, even among small children, just as in the US. The great villains are processed foods and soft drinks. There really is no mystery in all this, it is obvious to the eye. Where peoples’ diets are natural–no matter what the specific differences in cultures–and where they don’t drink sugar water, their bodies are normal.

  45. I’m not agry with Bosnia and Herzegovina ranking place. At first, we eat home made food,fast food is not ranked even in first five places in our cousine. We are famous as pationate food lovers but slow food fenomen of dining. Gastronomy in B&H is fusion of flavors and tastes of eastern and western cousine, we have the best parts of booth of it.Our green markets are full of vegetables and fruits produced here and almost in every meal is equaly present meat and fresh vegatable. After all I live here and I can tell you that you can not see so many overweight people.

  46. James

    The picture used for this article indicates bias. As I can tell, the U.S. is not numero uno on this list yet is negatively caracatured in the photo. Secondly, those above the U.S. are apparently more overweight because of “imported food from the west”; in other words, not their fault.

    “The United States of Processed food, high fructose corn syrup and fast food.”

    What a tasteless (pun not intended) comment.

  47. I think soda has a lot to do with it. It doesn’t seem to matter what else I do–drinking a lot of soda pop is just about the only thing that makes me gain weight. When I stopped drinking it during my freshman year of college, I LOST weight instead of gaining the freshman fifteen.

  48. South East Asian are not far behind. The rate of heart problems, diabetes & so on are increasing. The last 30 to 40 years, influence of western diet do take a toll. Fast food should be the main culprit, consumption of soft drinks & beers.

  49. This is the most idiotic list I’ve ever seen. 66% obesity in America? 62% in Bosnia? Where the fuck are the citations for these made-up numbers?

    Reliable sources estimate a prevalence of obesity in the USA at 33%. I’ve been to Bosnia and I can safely say the obesity rate is probably less than 5%. 62% my fucking ass.

  50. Croatia in top 10. Where did this data come from? I have travelled there 10 times and its hard to spot an overweight young person. Some of the oldies have a little fluff but this is more a rarity. One of the most attractive groups of people you will find anywhere in the world… known for their tall broad slender physiques

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.