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


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167 Responses to “The World’s Top 10 Fattest Countries”

  1. ben
    January 18, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    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.

  2. kim
    January 25, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    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.

  3. Will
    February 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    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.

  4. Allow
    February 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Refined sugar is the true poison.

  5. Luca
    February 21, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    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..

  6. Meagan
    February 22, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    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. 🙂

  7. Janis Maharaj
    March 29, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    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.

  8. Richard
    March 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    “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?

  9. James
    April 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    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.

  10. Ana
    April 25, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    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.

  11. Sustainable Earth
    April 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    So we are number one and number three, at least American’s have not lost the edge in competitive eating.

  12. Brandon
    May 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm #


    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.

  13. Annie
    May 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    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.

  14. Lawrence
    September 14, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    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.

  15. LOL
    September 25, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    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.

  16. Maggie
    August 6, 2013 at 4:09 am #

    I’m glad MĂ©xico is not on the Top Ten Ahuaaaa!!

  17. Dani
    February 28, 2015 at 7:11 am #

    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

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