I'd guessed the Gulf States, but was surprised to see the non-Gulf, less wealthy countries from that general area on there too. And the Bahamas! With all the islands on the list, I'm thinking maybe surfing doesn't burn a lot of fat ...
According to Wikipedia, the reasons for obesity in the Pacific islands are:
A large part of the local diet consists of processed, high-calorie and imported foods, such as spam or corned beef, rather than fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, in part because the mining past has reduced the amount of arable land . Unhealthy foods are sold on the Pacific islands due to the region's relative poverty.
Relatively sedentary lifestyle, including among children.
Cultural factors, including:
History of poor public education on diets, exercise and health (micronutrient deficiencies are also common);
Banquets and parties continue to be a big part of life;
Imported foods have a higher social status than healthier local foods;
Historically, having a great body is associated with wealth, power and beauty.
High rates of obesity begin to appear 15 months after birth.
Having been to the USA many times, it's easy to understand why so many Americans are obese.
In the South pacific large is considered beautiful, but strong too. Rugby fans know that there are a lot of incredibly strong pacific islanders, so be careful who you're calling "fat".
If you compare 36,7% to European statistics (about 16%), or China (about 10%), no wonder "everybody" thinks of USA as a nation of overweight people.
+ USA is 3 letters, i guess about all people on this site try uk and usa in about every quiz
fyi: if you are interested: https://www.worldobesity.org/
Millions of fatties!
It's an objective measurement and the best tool we have.
The countries in Oceania with high obesity all score very low in life expectancy, with mostly only poor underdeveloped African countries below them. Their obesity is a huge problem, and cause early death. To just dismiss it as "BMI should be discredited" is VERY irresponsible of you.
There is no better tool than BMI in order to address both public and private health risks due to obesity. So if you want to discard it, please inform me of what you would replace it with!!!!!
That being said, Polynesians are obese and unhealthy and this is mostly the product of poor diet and little exercise, not just different body types.
As for the diet - I have not been to many Pacific islands before outside of the Philippines (and the Filipino diet consists of a lot of rice, a lot of fried stuff, and a lot of fast food), but my friends who have worked or built residences in places like Samoa, Guam, and the Marshall Islands tell me that they eat a ton of SPAM and other fatty processed canned foods.
I'm reminded of Top Gear where they have the non-speaking, face-shielded, character The Stig. When they came to the U.S. he walks out of his dressing trailer and his trademark white race car driver's jump suit cuts a typical fat bellied American profile.