The World's Fattest Countries

A list of countries according to Body Mass Index (BMI).

Body Mass Index is the amount of tissue, fat, and bone an individual has in relation to their height and weight. According to the BMI range, one can either be of normal weight (18.5-25 BMI), underweight (below 18.5 BMI), overweight (25-30 BMI), or obese (above 30 BMI). BMI is calculated by the division of one’s weight in kilograms by the height in meters square. The following are the world’s fattest countries; the quoted BMI figures are according to the 2014 WHO data on mean BMI.

Countries With the Highest Average BMI

Nauru - 32.5 BMI

The average BMI of Nauru is 32.5. A study by Forbes in 2007 showed that 94.5% of the country’s population is overweight with 71.7% being obese. The average body weight among the country’s residents is 220 pounds. Before Nauru got its independence, the population depended on root vegetables, fish, coconuts, and fruits. After independence in 1968, due to proceeds from mining, the income per capita of the country rose. The mining proceeds were divided among the country's residents, and they took on a sedentary lifestyle not seeing the need to work. During that period there was an increase in the import of western food and the residents also resorted to unhealthy diets. 90% of Nauru's land surface is inarable which makes the country to rely on the import of processed foods. The diet of Nauru’s population consists of foods high in fat and sugar. A poor diet, lack of exercise, and culture are the main contributors to obesity in the country. Being overweight in Nauru is viewed as a sign of wealth. Due to a large number of obese people in the country, the country also leads in the number of diabetic adults.

Cook Islands - 32.3 BMI

The average BMI of Cook Islands is 32.3; this goes to show that nearly half the population of the country is obese. The Cook Islands is located in the South Pacific Ocean. Around 82% of the food in the country is imported with the traditional diet being replaced with high caloric processed foods that often contain little nutrients. The majority of the adult population in the country also suffers from diabetes. The government came up with a program named invest in your health which encourages the residents to exercise five days a week for at least 10 minutes a day and to eat more fruits and vegetables, to try and curb obesity. The business, trade, and industry board in support of the government launched a local go campaign which was meant to encourage the residents to buy locally produced foods.

Niue - 32.3 BMI

32.3 is the average BMI of the population of Niue. Niue Island is located in the South Pacific. The country battles with obesity which in turn leads to diabetes and hypertension. Lack of a proper diet and exercise are the leading causes of obesity on the island. Adults make up for most of the overweight population.

Obesity in the South Pacific Islands

Obesity is a prevalent problem in the South Pacific Islands as all of the above islands are located in the South Pacific Ocean. According to a study by Forbes in 2007, eight of the Pacific Islands were in the top ten list of heaviest countries.

The World's Fattest Countries

RankCountry Average BMI
2Cook Islands32.3
7Saint Kitts and Nevis29.7
9Saint Lucia29.6
14Marshall Islands29.2
16United Arab Emirates29.0
20United States28.8
22Trinidad and Tobago28.7
23Saudi Arabia28.5
24Antigua and Barbuda28.4

More in Society