This is a list of countries ranked by the proportion of the population that is obese. The data is from The World Factbook, produced by the Central Intelligence Agency, which provides the adult obesity prevalence rate, defined as the percentage of a country's population that is considered obese. The most obese countries in general are in the Pacific. Depending on how Turkey is considered, there are 1 or 0 countries in Europe on the list.
The thinnest countries are all in Asia, including Vietnam at the bottom of the list. Bangladesh, India and Japan are also among the thinnest. In most countries, the OECD has found that women are more obese than men, although obesity rates in the male population are rising rapidly. American readers will be familiar, as the United States has the highest obesity rate among developed countries.
While it is easy to assume that the easy availability of rich, decadent foods in the world's richest and most developed countries would make them the most obese, this is not always the case. So let's take a look at the countries where obesity is a major threat to a country's life expectancy. As mentioned above, topping the list of the world's most obese countries are small island nations in the Pacific, such as Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu, to name a few. For a full list of the world's countries and their obesity rates and average BMI, see the table below.
Bahrain is one of several Middle Eastern countries facing an obesity epidemic, with an obesity rate of 29.8%, showing that having a high standard of living also carries a risk of obesity if not done correctly. There is no direct correlation between a country's obesity rate and its economic status; however, richer countries tend to have more resources to implement programmes, campaigns and initiatives to raise awareness and educate people about what they consume. Around three quarters of the population in these countries are overweight and more than a third are considered obese. It may be one of the richest countries in the Middle East, but there is an income disparity in the country, which partly explains the country's 35.4 per cent obesity rate.
We already told you that the Middle East has a strong presence on the list of the world's most obese countries, as Libya has an obesity rate of 32.5%.