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The 20 Most Obese Countries in the World


Obesity is mainly associated with underdeveloped countries, which is far from the truth as it affects even the developed ones. There have been incentive measures in different countries trying to curb the massive problem of obesity that does not discriminate against gender, race, or age.

Globally, millions of people suffer from obesity due to the foods they eat, which is fatal in some cases. Obesity has profound origins, as some cases are hereditary, environmental, psychological, and economic.

Here are the 20 most obese countries in the world.


20. The United Arab Emirates

The alarming number of obese people in the United Arab Emirates indicates a severe problem that needs to be addressed. With 31.7% of the population being obese, most women, obesity is a national issue.

Young people are becoming unhealthy daily, while adults are seriously trying to get their bodies in shape. Obesity leads to low production and costs due to health conditions such as blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases.

In the United Arab Emirates, 40.7% of persons between the ages of 20 and 79 have type 2 diabetes but are unaware of it. Obesity has been a significant risk factor for diabetes due to its global prevalence of 16.3%.

new zealand

19. New Zealand

New Zealand is best known for its salient culture and nature as a magnificent country. Unfortunately, the country is among the most obese in the world, surprising, because life expectancy is high.

According to Finance Yahoo, statistics show that the obese percentage of the country lies at 34.3% from the previous 31.2% in the last two years. Women are more susceptible to obesity until they are t age 34 and men when they are over 34 years. This has led to an increase in the number of people ailing from heart-related diseases.


18. Lebanon

Estimated at 32% obesity, Lebanon has a crisis on its hands, and women are the most affected compared to men. It is estimated that 39.9% of women and 30.5% of men are dealing with obesity today. Obesity in the country is ranked fifth as a significant health crisis, which is why the country is trying to have some clinical trials to help deal with this crisis.

Due to its significant prevalence, chronic nature, connection to severe medical conditions, and adverse economic effects, obesity is regarded as an important global health issue. In Lebanon, obesity is linked to several ailments, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and several types of cancer.


17. Turkey

Turkey is considered the most obese in Europe and holds a 32.1% rate of obesity. This percentage has increased by 0.6% when compared to last year. With 56% of adults overweight, obesity is significantly an issue that the country must address. According to Development Aid, three out of four people in Turkey are likely to be obese as the 7.5million people in the country are obese.

Unfortunately, obesity alarmingly increases the risk of acquiring the cardiac ailment atrial fibrillation by 49%. People with various cardiovascular disorders may worsen their health issues. They, therefore, require more serious medical care that hampers the progress of the nation. Turkey's annual average of 80 cardiac transplants is slightly higher compared to other countries.


16. Libya

Libya is a tourist attraction country with its Greek and Roman ruins and the landscapes of the Sahara desert that are outstanding. The country has succeeded in this, but there are areas it is lagging, like in curbing obesity. The obesity rate in the country shamelessly stands at 32.5%, with women at a higher risk of being obese than men.

From 31years of age, people are likely to be at a higher risk of becoming obese. Obesity is a problem that affects all age groups in the country, as even 6.1% of kids are obese. There is a correlation between being overweight or obese and up to all 41% of cancer cases, 23% of ischemic heart disease cases, and 44% of cases of diabetes.


15. Qatar

Qatar, an oil-rich nation, has an obesity rate of 35.1%, with women holding 46.1% while men take up 35.9%. Although there has been tremendous improvement in the country's development, they are still behind in dealing with obesity.

About half the school-aged children in Qatar are obese, resulting in psychological problems, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and hypertension. The rapid modernization that produced poorly planned, pedestrian-unfriendly towns is linked to the obesity problem in the nation. Initially, the country had adapted to desert life, where fast foods and servants were not part of the equation.

Saudi Arabia

14. Saudi Arabia

Obesity has proven to be a threatening challenge in Saudi Arabia as the rate of obesity is at 35.4%/. As an oil nation, the people do not work much, which means that they lead a sedentary lifestyle which is unhealthy given the foods they eat.

There are 8.7% of obese children in Saudi Arabia. The men and women living with obesity are 41% and 78%, respectively. With 30% of Saudi Arabians having type 2 diabetes, most are obese or overweight. Obesity is connected to this and other disorders like dyslipidemia and hypertension.


13. Jordan

The prevalence of obesity is high in Jordan, affecting all age groups as it is at 35.5%. In Jordan, about 75.6% of women and 60.4% of men struggle with obesity. The burden of being obese can expose your child to low self-esteem or depression.

Adults' obesity causes reproduction issues, especially for those ailing from hypertension or diabetes due to obesity. People between 60 and 70 are likely to get hypertension, and the chances increase if they are obese.


12. The United States

Surprisingly, the United States is on this list as it has adapted well to fitness and health as a developed country. The country has an obesity rate of 36.2% due to the unhealthy lifestyles Americans opt for. According to Forbes, for a group of three adults, one is obese, with 13 million children and 78million adults living with obesity.

One person in the US passes away from a cardiovascular illness every day, with obesity as the primary risk factor. This illness is the leading cause of death in males, but it is the second highest cause of death in women, trailing behind cancer.


11. Kuwait

With a rate of 37.9%, Kuwait, a Middle East country, makes the list which is disappointing as it seems like the Middle East countries are failing in the fight against obesity. There is an enormous display of fast food in advertisements and billboards all over Kuwait, which proves that the country has adapted to fast food.

This is why obesity is prevalent in the country, with 36% of the male and 48% of the female population struggling with it. Children's obesity in the country is also high, which should prompt them to act on it. This has led to an increase in the number of people suffering from diabetes and hypertension as a result of being obese.


10. Micronesia

Micronesia is well appreciated for its numerous islands, which have striking features that interest the people. Most of the country's foods are imported from the United States, which makes one wonder if there is a connection here, given that the US has a high rate of obesity. With a 45.8% rate of obesity, Micronesia is on the verge of losing the obesity battle.

The risk of people being obese is 7.5 out of 10 and 8 out of 11 in children. This has resulted in an increase in the number of people with diabetes and heart-related issues.


9. Kiribati

Both adults and children are at risk of being obese in Kiribati. The rate of obesity in this country is 46%. Women in the country are at a higher risk than men, which seems to be the trend in many other countries.

The saddening part about the reason for obesity is the lack of awareness and lifestyle. There is a 10.5 out of 11 risks of children acquiring obesity when they are young and the problem progressing into their future, resulting in lifestyle diseases like diabetes.


8. Tonga

Developed countries often export foods to the pacific countries, which for some might be declared the problem when it comes to obesity. Unfortunately, Tonga has a 48.2% obesity rate, with women leading in the frontline. Tonga has quite a devastating rate of children struggling with obesity.

According to World Population Review, one of the most significant sources is mutton flaps, a cheap, fatty form of meat imported from New Zealand. This has resulted in many people suffering from chronic diseases such as blood pressure and diabetes.


7. Niue

The rate of obesity in Niue stands at 50%, with both genders being highly affected. Women and men struggling with obesity are 62.7% and 59.2%, respectively. The life expectancy in Niue is 60 years which is considered low, and that is attributed to the issues revolving around obesity.

Women and men between 35 and 44 years of age are likely in a critical position to getting obese in Niue. Genetics, limited exercises, diet, and environmental factors are some of the significant contributors to obesity in the country. With heart disease being one of the leading causes of death in Niue, it just goes to show how serious the issue of obesity is in this country.


6. Tuvalu

In Tuvalu, 59.9% of women and 51.5% of men live with obesity, and this is scary for the country as it indicates how dire the situation is. With 51.6% of obese people in Tuvalu, the country has a lot to do to help curb this humongous obesity problem. In the country, 50% of school-going children are in the obesity range.

The inhabitants of Tuvalu have traditionally been farmers; however, there is not enough food to feed the entire population due to the limited amount of land available. Since 80% of the food is imported from nations like Fiji, Japan, and Australia, food farming has ceased. This trend has brought some devastating effects, with a large majority of people here suffering from heart-related issues and diabetes.

Marshall Islands

5. The Marshall Islands

52.9% of people in the Marshall Islands battle with obesity. 30.5% of adult men and 31.7% of women in the Marshall Islands battle obesity, which is strenuous as all age groups are affected. The life expectancy in this country is 55 years which is low compared to wealthier countries.

According to Obesity Procon, the scrutiny of the obesity issue in this country shows that there is a high chance of a young child who is overweight being obese even in adulthood. This high rate of obesity has resulted in about 41.7% of people suffering from heart disease.


4. American Samoa

As a Pacific country with the highest military listing on US territory, it is disheartening that it has such a significant obesity problem. Obesity affects 53% of adults in Samoa, with 30.5% of men and 31.7% of women obese. With such high obesity rates, it is no surprise that even children are impacted at an early age.

This is why there are many type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. About 26% of men and women in this country have type 2 diabetes due to obesity.


3. Palau

In the fight against obesity, the pacific island nations are failing, and Palau is another one of them that makes this list. Intriguingly, Palau has an obesity percentage of 55.3%, indicating that many people are in distress. According to World Atlas, the country currently imports processed goods, including wheat, processed meat, rice, soft drinks, and canned foods, to replace traditional cuisine like vegetables and fresh seafood.

That has resulted in an increased rate of obese citizens. This has hit people's health, with about 48.2% suffering from heart-related diseases and 45.9% suffering from diabetes.


2. The Cook Islands

It is nerve-racking that as one of the most stunning nations on earth, the Cook Islands is today known as one of the most obese countries in the world. The country possesses 55.9% obesity levels, as 60.9% of the population is obese. It essentially means that virtually every person residing in the country is at least overweight. Children between 13 and 15 make up 31% of obese children in the country. This is concerning as obesity attracts other severe conditions like blood pressure, diabetes, and heart conditions, among other things.


1. Nauru

The obesity issue began after the landscape of Nauru country was destroyed by phosphate farming, which meant they mastered the means to obtain food elsewhere. The highest proportion of obesity is in Nauru (61%), which is concerning and the cause of the nation's increased risk of kidney and heart diseases.

Obesity affects 17% of Nauru's youngsters, indicating that they should endeavor to live a better lifestyle. About 40% of people in Nauru have type 2 diabetes which is contributed to the obesity issue in the country. In this country, life expectancy is low as few people manage to reach age sixty.

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Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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