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Countries with the Highest Obesity Rate

Can you name the countries of the world where the highest % of adults have a Body Mass Index of 30 or greater?
2016 WHO estimates. Complete list here
Countries with a population less than a million are marked in red
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: August 27, 2018
First submittedApril 5, 2010
Times taken92,301
Rating4.27
4:00
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%
Country
61.0
Nauru
55.3
Palau
52.9
Marshall Islands
51.6
Tuvalu
48.2
Tonga
47.3
Samoa
46.0
Kiribati
45.8
F.S. Micronesia
37.9
Kuwait
36.2
United States
%
Country
35.5
Jordan
35.4
Saudi Arabia
35.1
Qatar
32.5
Libya
32.1
Turkey
32.0
Egypt
32.0
Lebanon
31.7
United Arab Emirates
31.6
Bahamas
30.8
New Zealand
+44
level 73
Feb 16, 2015
Anybody looked at the "residents" of Vatican City. An awful lot of porkers there.
+3
level 33
Mar 6, 2015
That is hilarious!
+3
level 47
Aug 4, 2016
because they have a tiny population and it is easy to have a higher percentage
+7
level 62
May 20, 2017
Yet that didn't stop the WHO from looking at countries like Nauru and Palau
+1
level 43
Oct 17, 2018
They pick and choose who gets to be a citizen in the Vatican. That is probably why.
+1
level 58
Feb 19, 2019
Tuvalu/Palau have ten times the population of the Vatican.
+2
level 58
Feb 19, 2019
The second sentence contains a double entendre.
+1
level 74
Oct 17, 2019
As does your user name.
+1
level 58
Nov 2, 2019
My username is derived from the toy, not from the food chain, which I was not even aware of when I choose it as my username.
+3
level 77
Apr 1, 2019
Vatican BMI is a carefully guarded secret. Damn them and their indomitable albino assassins, putting fear in to the hearts of anyone who dares ask, just how fat IS yo holiness' momma?
+6
level 48
Mar 6, 2015
who knew that all the oceanic countries were the fattest!
+25
level 77
Mar 6, 2015
Anyone who's been there before, seen a Samoan before, looked at the stats before, or taken this quiz before probably.
+5
level 60
May 6, 2017
They rely on wrestlers only ;)
+2
level 80
May 17, 2017
...or anyone who has watched a college football game
+16
level 47
May 20, 2017
Culturally those island nations have historically seen fat as beautiful and a sign of wealth.
+4
level 62
May 20, 2017
True, being skinny and fit shows that you're poor and malnourished.
+2
level 56
Mar 2, 2018
Dcher-probably best comment on jet punk ! Thanks lol
+2
level 45
Mar 2, 2018
It's more so the abundance of minerals that thrived earlier, such as the phosphate in Nauru, that left it one of the richest countries in the world.
+1
level 57
Jul 3, 2018
But that's true of many developing countries. (For instance, "you've gotten fat" is a compliment across South Asia, and diabetes / obesity is rising with processed foods.) So that may be a little piece of it, but for Oceania, I'd think it'd also be a matter of relatively small population + genetics + relatively low education + heavy use of high-fat imported processed food. (Spam, anyone?) 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 ...
+1
level 67
Jul 31, 2019
the surf in the bahamas isn't very good anyway
+2
level 63
May 20, 2017
Also, most of the islands have been sources of wealth in the past during colonial times, and they all enjoyed that a bit too much.
+8
level 67
May 20, 2017
Not to mention that they eat a LOT of tinned and processed food. Spam might as well be the official meat of the Pacific.
+2
level 57
May 25, 2017
they import a lot of bad food
+10
level 76
Jan 17, 2018
In Australia it is known. The men are often employed as security guards or bouncers. There is also a couple of clothing brands that have "Pacific-Islander" sizes.
+1
level 43
Oct 17, 2018
Right? I knew they were big, I just thought it was more muscle than fat. That's a lot of oceanic countries.
+4
level 36
Mar 6, 2015
I think that it's sad that the USA was guessed 100% of the time when it's not even the fattest country
+17
level 43
Mar 9, 2015
And also because it's one of the biggest countries in the world... More people will think of the USA than an island nation with just thousands of residents that some probably haven't even heard of.
+2
level 66
Apr 4, 2017
Plus the pharmaceutical companies make a ton of money off of thermogenics, which are simple and cheap to make. They stand to make a sweet profit off of talking about how fat everybody is.
+7
level 68
May 20, 2017
The combined population of the other top ten countries is less than many US states. It's good that people are aware of the USA's obesity problem as it often promotes itself as a role model for the rest of the world. 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".
+3
level 51
Mar 2, 2018
Yeah. At least there's a reason for the obesity levels in many of the island countries. What's the American excuse?
+6
level 61
Mar 2, 2018
We love to eat and hate to run. I thought that was obvious.
+1
level 74
Oct 17, 2019
Processed food. American food producers pump every substance unimaginable into the food supply.
+4
level 67
Jan 31, 2018
Why would you try and deny a problem by stating that there are some pacific (micro)nations - where obesity equals status - that 'score' a tad bit higher. 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/
+1
level 51
Mar 2, 2018
Good point. But I wouldn't compare us to China when it comes to obesity. That rate would probably be higher if the average standard of living was on par with the American one. That's a big part of why the obesity level here is so high, although of course what you said also plays into it.
+2
level 76
Mar 2, 2018
All the countries fatter than the US are under 1 million except for Kuwait, which is 4 million.
+3
level 36
Mar 10, 2015
I love how everyone guessed the USA
+1
level 47
Apr 11, 2015
Wow! I never expected this many oceania countries to be on this list!
+2
level 35
Dec 5, 2015
I put Nauru first
+2
level 69
Apr 29, 2016
Hit a rich vein with Pacific Islands, then, when that ran dry, I tried a few stereotypical ones (US, Mexico) and then just started randomly trying wealthy western countries with little success. After that I tried sample nations in different parts of my world in an attempt to identify the clusters. I tried a few Middle Eastern ones and Caribbean ones, but apparently not the right ones.
+1
level 42
May 30, 2016
I was surprised to see so many island nations!
+1
level 50
Jun 14, 2016
Funny to see how fast and far the percentage guessed drops on this quiz. Makes sense. Most people's understanding of geography is centralized around the west.
+2
level 43
Mar 8, 2017
Islands, Middle East?
+1
level 42
Mar 22, 2019
Pacific Islanders have more efficient metabolisms. Great when the food is limited in amount and variety, no so great when exposed to high calorie diets.
+2
level 80
Apr 4, 2017
They import the bulk of their food as canned and packaged products, and this leads naturally to unhealthy choices.
+2
level 56
May 22, 2017
Also the quality of the packaged foods is often poorer compare to the same product sold in New Zealand and Australia - the Spam in Samoa for example has a much higher fat content than the same product in NZ, even though the Samoan version is manufactured and shipped in from NZ.
+2
level 62
Apr 5, 2017
Pacific countries are because of the foods that were introduced by the Europeans. Less fishing, fruits, more processed foods.
+1
level 71
Apr 8, 2017
I knew the Oceanic island nations were fat due to some reading but I still don't understand why they are. You would think their diet would be limited to the same sorts of foods that kept most Asian countries so thin. It is also strange that countries that are all about their beaches would not be working to look great in a bathing suit.
+5
level 61
Apr 8, 2017
There are more important things in life than looking good in a bathing suit.
+4
level 54
May 20, 2017
There are?
+2
level 76
Apr 8, 2017
Besides the usual over eating and lack of exercise, the oceanic countries have higher obesity rates because of a naturally bigger build, lower metabolism rates (due to past seafarer long trips where they needed to conserve energy), introduction of processed foods from the west (coke is cheaper than water), lack of access to medical care and the natural tendency of when it is very hot to conserve energy and be sedentary. Even things like the fact that a fisherman can sell a fish for a price that would buy him a couple of processed meals and be cheaper than eating that fish.
+2
level 48
May 20, 2017
Good on Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands not being as fat as the countries around them.
+3
level 53
May 21, 2017
Fiji may be the one country in that area that has banned the import of certain foods because they are so fattening. Mutton flaps (as gross as it sounds), for instance, were banned there about ten years ago but are still popular on the islands that made the list.
+2
level 70
May 20, 2017
My interpretation of the list is that obesity is strongly correlated with living on a Pacific island, living near the Persian Gulf, or speaking English. I should probably brush up on my Spanish again.
+2
level 62
May 25, 2017
where is that like button when you need it. :)
+1
level 74
Nov 6, 2018
I just gave it to you.
+1
level 58
May 20, 2017
USA way up there in terms of the bigger countries. No surprise there then!
+2
level 71
May 20, 2017
Anybody else try Greece? bwaahahahaha!!
+1
level 74
Nov 6, 2018
Right away. Romania, etc.
+1
level 56
Nov 25, 2018
Yeah, Greece was the only European country I tried.
+2
level 62
May 20, 2017
Historically, populations on isolated islands were more at risk of famine and seasonal food shortages. The ability to store fat in one's body was a trait that ensured survival through lean times- natural selection. People with these genes put on weight more readily than others, even if they eat and exercise the same amount.
+1
level 28
Jan 24, 2019
That makes sense.
+4
level 62
May 20, 2017
Tongans and Samoans have genetically greater bone density. The BMI standard used to determine obesity levels is based on Caucasian data, which is not appropriate for Polynesian populations, as there are genuine differences in body composition and fat distribution, so healthy weight ranges should be different. (International Journal of Obesity).
+2
level 53
May 21, 2017
Tonga and Samoa would be near the top of this list regardless of the measuring system used. Both countries have acknowledged their severe obesity problem.
+1
level 65
May 20, 2017
Lol what's wrong with Oceania ? :O
+1
level 48
May 20, 2017
As a matter of fact, in Malta we are consistently told by the news that we're the fattest people in Europe haha
+2
level 62
May 20, 2017
Well, according to the WHO, that claim is true.
+1
level 77
May 20, 2017
What happened to Egypt and Mexico? I thought they were both on here before with pretty respectable rankings, too.
+7
level 71
May 20, 2017
I think each country caught wind of that exact fact and told their respective citizens, "Hey, we gotta lose weight and get off this JetPunk Quiz."
+1
level 51
Mar 2, 2018
After all, Jetpunkers are a major voting group.
+1
level 77
Dec 31, 2018
Egypt is back on
+1
level 60
May 21, 2017
I was surprised to not see Mexico on the list- I thought I heard somewhere that Mexico recently surpassed the US as one of the fattest countries.
+1
level 79
May 22, 2017
Yea, I remember seeing that as well. From comments it was on here at some point but maybe they all sneaked over the border.
+2
level ∞
Jan 13, 2018
Mexico is 33rd with 28.9%.
+1
level 77
Nov 7, 2017
There are different ways to measure what constitutes being "overweight." That's my only guess. I've also seen lists with Mexico and other central American countries ranked prominently.
+2
level 23
May 22, 2017
I guessed Ethiopia but I guess they don't have too many obese there...
+4
level 62
May 24, 2017
Not funny.
+1
level 27
May 23, 2017
I got Malta but missed the UK...
+1
level 43
Sep 6, 2017
Weird how the only white majority of countries on this list are those that speak english... no European countries besides Uk and Ireland, and then the only other white countries in the world (NZ, USA, australia, canada) all make the list. very strange... I wonder what exactly the connection is there.
+1
level 77
Nov 7, 2017
could be the greasy food that Anglo cultures seem to prefer in England especially but pretty much all over, the relative wealth and prosperity that came as a package deal with starting the Industrial Revolution, the fact that Americans invented fast food and then the concept spread more easily and readily to culturally similar Anglophone countries, or perhaps something genetic.
+1
level 80
Dec 11, 2017
Can't believe Turkey isn't there, that always makes me fatter.
+1
level 72
Jan 15, 2018
Odd agglomeration of Oceania and the Middle East...
+1
level 45
Jan 31, 2018
3rd world countries and US :D
+1
level 48
Feb 8, 2018
why is oceania fat i mean tuvalu tonga new zealand samoa nauru palau etc are on the list?
+1
level 67
Feb 14, 2018
Plenty of food, plenty of beer, lovely beaches, no work, sunshine...... oh boy!
+1
level 50
Mar 2, 2018
It's far more complicated than that. Obesity among Islanders has a strong genetic component. https://news.brown.edu/articles/2016/07/samoagene
+1
level 37
Mar 2, 2018
Common food includes fried fish, and imported products which majority of them are not very healthy
+5
level 49
Feb 14, 2018
Consider accepting Kuweight.
+1
level 61
Mar 2, 2018
Genuine chuckle at this.
+1
level 67
Feb 14, 2018
I knew one country would not be there........... Finland
+1
level 56
Nov 25, 2018
Or any other European country...
+1
level 58
Mar 2, 2018
USA, the only western world country here.
+1
level 48
Mar 2, 2018
How is the USA not #1 at this?
+3
level 61
Mar 2, 2018
Perception is not reality. The US is always under a microscope, so its many flaws are often overstated. Yes, we have a lot of overweight people, ignorant people, religiously zealous people, and uneducated people....but other places have many more of those types of people than we do. It's just that those other countries don't have the same global influence, so they aren't discussed as much. USA gets so much grief because, among the major global players like Germany, France, the UK, Japan, etc., it has these problems in the largest numbers. Plus human nature is to belittle the person at the top of the totem pole. As long as the US is the biggest wielder of global influence, people will accentuate and overstate its failings.
+1
level 49
Mar 2, 2018
You need to be washd in the blood of the Lam
+1
level 77
Mar 22, 2018
Lamb's blood is not hygenic.
+2
level 58
Jun 15, 2018
USA is not #1 because there are some countries with very low populations that have a higher obesity rate. Statistically it is expected that the countries with very low populations will have lowest or highest rates of anything. The USA is a very diverse place in many ways, and I am sure there are areas with the same population as Nauru that have an even higher obesity rate than Nauru.
+1
level 77
Apr 1, 2019
I don't think so. From what I could dig up, the fattest place in America is Wauchula, Florida, with an obesity rate of 41.8%, which edges out Kuwait but fails to reach the heights of any of the countries in Oceania on the list. It's not just that they have small populations, they're also remarkably (and pretty uniformly) fat.
+1
level 41
Mar 2, 2018
Where the heck is Hungary!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!
+1
level 73
Dec 4, 2018
Just South of Slovakia
+1
level 77
Sep 16, 2019
Would make more sense for them to show up on the skinny countries quiz. Until they change their name to Stuffed.
+1
level 44
Mar 2, 2018
That was hard. Expected UK to be there.
+1
level 77
Mar 6, 2018
I think they're the fattest in Europe after Greece, not too far down the list but not in the top 20.
+1
level 77
Jun 16, 2018
and they used to be on the quiz judging from the comments. Not sure what changed. Maybe they switched from "overweight" to "obese" or something else like that.
+1
level 49
Mar 2, 2018
How could I miss Samoa?
+1
level 25
Oct 12, 2018
So basically entire Oceania. It's just genetics.
+1
level 71
Jul 3, 2019
It really isn't, it's more about diet and poor people buying cheap imported high-fat food products.
+1
level 61
Nov 6, 2018
Houston, we have a problem in Nauru.
+1
level 60
Nov 7, 2018
I think that maybe this shows why the BMI standard should be discredited as it really cannot be applied internationally as claimed. It is laughable to think that both Polynesian and Asian body types should be judged by it.
+1
level 28
Jan 24, 2019
High BMI is clearly a cause in severe diseases, and kills a lot of people. If you discard it, then what would you replace it with? How would doctors check if their patience have increased risk of early death? 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!!!!!
+1
level 77
Apr 1, 2019
While coro maybe overstated the point, he's actually right that BMI is not the best way of measuring how fat or out of shape someone is. It's an overly simplistic formula and people with wider, squatter bodies will be labeled as obese more easily using it. It also doesn't factor in how much muscle mass your body has so champion body builders would be severely obese going by BMI. Better ways of measuring include looking at hip:waist ratio, air displacement of your total body mass (can figure out how dense you are), the skinfold thickness test (pinch some fat off your body), or a DEXA scan or other more technologically advanced ways of measuring your body fat %. BMI is *a* tool but it's far from the best and it does run in to some problems applied across many different body types.

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.
+1
level 36
Jan 20, 2019
Pacific Islands ftw!
+1
level 28
Jan 24, 2019
Somewhere, over the rainbow.
+1
level 60
Jun 27, 2019
Didn't expect Turkey to be in this list
+1
level 59
Oct 3, 2019
So pasically Oceanian nations followed by Middle East with USA and Bahamas thrown into the mix.
+1
level 74
Oct 17, 2019
USA guessed 100% of the time. Next highest? 53% for Samoa which starts a chain of naming Pacific island nations.
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.
+1
level 29
Nov 2, 2019
Nauru’s obesity rate has decreased dramatically - used to be around 75% a few years ago. Rip the USA for it getting 100% on this.