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The Countries With the Lowest and Highest Obesity Rates

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What can be done about obesity?

What can be done about obesity?

Rising International Obesity Rates

According to recent statistics on obesity made by the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1.6 billion adults worldwide are overweight and another 400 million are obese. Those are big numbers. That is a lot of people that really need to lose weight.

In truth, these soaring International obesity rates are staggering. As well, reports from the International Obesity TaskForce (IASO) says that there are 155 million children around the world who are overweight including 30-45 million children with obesity issues. It is quite obvious that people worldwide need to lose weight.

Highest Obesity Rates For Countries Worldwide

Did you know that the United States has one of the highest International obesity rates in the world? Obesity statistics done by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) show that 34.2 percent of Americans are overweight, 33.8 percent are obese, and 5.7 percent are "extremely" obese. I do believe that countless Americans could benefit from a healthy diet and lose weight.

More Soaring International Obesity Rates

International obesity rates have hit an all-time high. Current international statistics on obesity by WHO show that the United States and many other countries have very high obesity rates. Not only are more adults becoming overweight but our children are also affected. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that over 20 million children under age five are overweight and have childhood obesity issues. As well, these numbers are on the rise.

  • Nauru: 96.9
  • Cook Islands: 93.4
  • Micronesia, Federated States of: 93.1
  • Tonga: 91.4
  • Samoa: 81.1
  • Niue: 80.9
  • United States: 80.5
  • Argentina: 77.7

Facts on Obesity: Health Risks

Being overweight can cause many health problems as you probably well know. In truth, these health problems caused by being overweight are directly related to one of the highest causes of death. The rising International rates are directly related to millions of diseases worldwide.

A 2007 study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows that heart disease is the number one cause of death killing 616,067, Cancer: 562,875, Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952, and Diabetes: 71,382.

Most experts agree that being overweight increases high blood pressure, heart disease, high blood sugar, and many other health issues. The majority of international diets encourage obesity and adverse health conditions. Now, by diet, I do not mean a regime designed to help you lose weight. Diet, in this instance, means the "said" regular daily eating habits.

Obesity statistics done by the Wellness International Network (WIN) show that obesity is related to several medical conditions. In reality, intercontinental obesity rates are high among many related diseases.

Various Obesity-Related Diseases

  • 90% of Type 2 Diabetic diseases are related to obesity
  • 80% Cardiovascular Disease (21% of ischaemic heart disease)
  • 80% Stroke
  • 8-42% Certain forms of cancer (colon, endometrial, and breast)

With these statistics in mind, it is obvious that many people with obesity problems and concerns should lose weight. A healthy diet would definitely reduce many health issues.

Note: Before going on any diet, it is highly recommended that you consult with your health care provider first.

Highest Obesity Rates: Top 10

The top 10 highest Intercontinental obesity (2013) rates are as follows:

  • Nauru: 94.95
  • Micronesia: 92.10
  • Cook Islands: 91.85
  • Niue: 83.80
  • Samoa: 82.60
  • Palau: 80.85
  • United States: 78.60
  • Tonga: 77.15
  • Kiribati: 76.60
  • Dominica: 75.80

Obesity Update 2017 was reported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Rates are based on rising overweight (including obesity) in adults aged 15-74 years:

  • Mexico: over 70%
  • United States: around 68%
  • Hungary: at 60%
  • England: around 57%
  • Canada: about 52%
  • Spain: around 46%
  • France: about 42%
  • Italy: around 41%
  • Switzerland: about 38%
  • Korea: around 31%

Lowest Obesity Rates For Countries Worldwide

Although there are numerous countries around the world that have high statistics on obesity, there are also countries that have very low obesity rates. While some of these countries have low obesity rates and low children obesity issues, they also have high nutritional deficiencies. Note: These rates exclude all countries with 20% or higher rate of nutritional deficiencies and high rates of poverty.

  • Sri Lanka: 9.1
  • Indonesia: 9.1
  • Sudan: 19.3
  • Singapore: 21.1
  • Djibouti: 21.2
  • Philippines: 22.2
  • Comoros: 24.3
  • Yemen: 24.6
  • Thailand: 28.3
  • Japan: 29.8
  • Gabon: 30.2
  • Korea: 35.5
  • Tajikistan: 33.5
  • Kyrgyzstan: 34.5
  • Cape Verde: 35.6
  • Algeria: 37.4
  • Republic of Moldova: 37.5
  • Romania: 37.7
  • Honduras: 40.1
  • South Africa: 41.3
  • Georgia (Europe): 41.5
  • Cameroon: 43.9
  • Kazakhstan: 43.9
  • Mauritius: 44.8
  • France: 48

Healthy Cultures with Low Obesity

Although the rate of obesity has skyrocketed especially in the last decade, there are countries that have extremely low health diseases that are related to being overweight. In fact, these countries have very high longevity rates and excellent health. Discover some of the countries with low obesity rates and their secrets to longevity at Healthy International Diet Secrets and Being Overweight.


World Health Organization

International Obesity TaskForce

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


google on December 06, 2019:

what country has the lowest? what is austraias obesity rate?

mecheshier (author) on November 15, 2017:

Hi Sarah

Good point. Please note that article was posted 01/27/11. I am rarely on HubPages anymore. However, your comment reminds me that I should update the stats for this post. Thank you

mecheshier (author) on November 15, 2017:

Thanks for reading! :-)

Sarah on November 15, 2017:

Where's Italy in the list which according to the map has lower obesity rate than France?

Italian food is well known the best in the world and the country does not suffer of poverty or malnutrition.

autumn kloe on November 06, 2017:


mecheshier (author) on September 24, 2016:


Thank you so much for your lovely response. So sorry for the delay in responding. I have been working a lot this summer.

mecheshier (author) on September 24, 2016:


My utmost apologies for not getting back with you. I am rarely on Hubpages anymore and was swamped this summer with work. I wrote this article, and NO, it is not biased. If you noticed, all the stats were referenced e.g the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Obesity TaskForce (IASO). I find that the WHO is generally pretty accurate and very unbiased.

Student on June 20, 2016:

Hey mecheshier I need some info from you about this article such as ...who is the publisher? what are your qualifications for writing this? is this info from an expert and if so what is the evidence? what info can you give me that verifies the info I see in this article? when was it first written? are you biased? thank you. All of these questions of mine need answers so that I can do my summer project so please respond as quickly as possible

Smiteplayer88 on June 05, 2016:

Wow. This is like motivation because South korea is the place i wanna go to when i get enough money but my nationality is Micronesia so its a bit embarrassing but true because many of my family members are a little obese

mecheshier (author) on November 07, 2015:

Thank you toknowinfo.. Yes the obesity stats are rather high worldwide. I do have an article on how to lose weight and stay healthy: Healthy Diet Secrets Including the Georgian Diet

mecheshier (author) on May 01, 2014:

Thanks Barbie. I am glad that you my Hub useful.

Barbie on April 12, 2014:

Very useful information

mecheshier (author) on March 07, 2014:


The obesity rate for Croatia is 24.2% (2008). However, I did not list countries with 20% or higher rate of nutritional deficiencies and high rates of poverty.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 07, 2014:

Obesity is a growing problem and I see where South Africa lies but don't see Croatia. An interesting list you have accomplished.

mecheshier (author) on November 03, 2012:

Thank you for your feedback. Yes, the US ranked higher 10 years ago. Maybe it is because of the economy people are now eating less. Hubs are minimal nowadays. I have been busy with my 2 websites. But I think that would be a great article.

Christine Miranda from My office. on November 03, 2012:

Excellent article. Well written. I have to say I am not surprised the US was in 7th place. I actually expected them to be in the top 5. I am curious as to the stats 10 years ago? 20 years ago? With all the work you've done an article comparing stats of the last 50 years may be a new hub idea for you. Voted up & more.

mecheshier (author) on October 28, 2012:

Hi Healthexplorer

You are absolutely right. It is not only the amount of food we eat but what we eat. Many people consume empty calories. As well, an exercise program would do everyone wonders. Unfortunately, most of our schools have cut back on their sports programs and what is available is costly for the average family. As an adult, so many people have forgotten the simple things in life that keep us healthy like walking, riding a bike etc.

Thank for the feedback

mecheshier (author) on August 29, 2012:

Hi Alecia

Thank you for such great feedback. It seems that North and South Carolina love their fried food and even fat such as bacon in their vegetables. I have a sister who married a man from N. Carolina. In 10 years she put on more than 75 pounds. Yes, good food choices make a world of difference. TY again.

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on August 29, 2012:

Obesity is a huge problem here. And I don't think portion sizes are getting better- in fact it seems like fast food and the food industry in general are oblivious to how their marketing affects consumers. Eating healthy does take some work but the end results are worth it. Great hub!

mecheshier (author) on July 16, 2012:

You are right Alan. However, this research led to another article on countries with the lowest obesity rates and their diet secrets " If this helps anyone overweight then the hours spent writing the article are well worth it.

There are many factors that can cause obesity, rarely is it the thyroid (3% if I remember correctly, don't quote me though). e.g. lack of exercise including sports being taken out of our school programs, poor diet (high fat etc.), the computer age ( I see young folk texting instead of watching natural wonders such as eclipses, beautiful sunsets etc.), the list goes on. What is really crazy is that because I am skinny (with muscle) many feel that I am a drugie or something is wrong. The world has changed my friend and in some ways not for the better. Thank you for your feedback!

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on July 16, 2012:

Lots of figures, diagrams and data can't hide that obesity is another version of 'public enemy number one'. The UK is currently going through an alarming phase of obesity. 'Fatties' sometimes can't help their predicament because of their metabolism, but they can seek advice instead of letting it get on top of them. We can't afford the outlay and the strain on the health services makes life hard for those around who might better need the medical services in accidents.

mecheshier (author) on July 15, 2012:

Now that is a concept. I think that might be a great motivator.

travel-O-grapher from Dhaka, Bangladesh on July 15, 2012:

Wow... very interesting article and some really interesting facts as well... Im quite amazed to see my country (Bangladesh)'s name at the top of the non-obese list! but im not really surprised since a lot of people in our country are poor... if only there existed a programme through which the "extremely obese" would donate some of their excessive eating money to the less fortunate!

mecheshier (author) on May 26, 2012:

Very impressive! I love your story. I bet you are a lot healthier now as well! I do feel lifestyle and eating habits have a lot to do with ones weight. I never diet, but I also never overeat.

mecheshier (author) on May 26, 2012:

Hi whoisbid.Yes, cheese can be very fattening, but it is a good source of protein. Although, processed cheese is not real cheese and very high in empty calories.

whoisbid on May 26, 2012:

I live in Asia. Whenever I go to the United States for a few weeks I start putting on weight. I don't normally have cheese in my diet but almost everything I was eating in the USA was laced with cheese. It is almost as if I could not escape it. I don't know if it is cheese that is the problem for everyone but I think it is for me.

Mel Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on May 25, 2012:

I have seen a huge drop in my blood pressure, which couldn't be controlled with medication, and my energy levels have spiked since we went vegan. I started by becoming vegetarian though. I went completely vegan because I saw the movie Forks Over Knives and I was so disgusted I ransacked the house and threw out all the animal products and processed foods. My poor husband just stared at me in disbelief and then said "You're gonna waste all that food?" lol I said "no, you're going to take it to the church up the road." lol

I lost 70lbs with this diet, and I feel AWESOME! I'm sure you do to, and it is totally a matter of preference, although now I see a steak and get rather nauseated!

mecheshier (author) on May 25, 2012:

You are absolutely right Daughter of Maat. Although I am not a vegan, I have been a vegetarian for over 35 years and am much healthier for it. I am not opposed to people who eat meat; in fact, fish is a great food. I do not eat fish or poultry; it is a preference.

TY for the vote and feedback!

Mel Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on May 25, 2012:

Obesity is becoming an epidemic. Great hub. Unfortunately, startling statistics. It's not just how much we consume here in the US either, it's what we consume. Processed foods and animal products are killing us. I'm a vegan, but I know that's not for everyone. Animal products don't have to be completely removed from the diet, but we really need to look at cutting back... a lot.

Voted up and useful!

mecheshier (author) on April 04, 2011:

Thank you sophie_allen, I am pleased that you enjoyed it. Yes, you are absolutely right, we do need to start living healthy lives for there are always consequences if we don't. Thank you!

sophie_allen from Washington D.C. USA 20002 on April 04, 2011:

Mecheshier, this is a good read, a well written article. We really need to start living healthy and do consistent exercise to avoid unwanted outcomes and diseases.

toknowinfo on March 12, 2011:

Well done hub. It really is scaring to read these statistics. I didn't realize how it was around the globe. Thanks for putting this information together. Now the question is, what to do about it.

mecheshier (author) on February 07, 2011:

Oh, and Nauru, Micronesia, and Cook Islands are not "cold" countries.

mecheshier (author) on February 06, 2011:

Hi Bronson. Thank you for such great feedback. Wow... Yes, it is interesting that Nauru, Micronesia, and Cook Islands have such a high obesity rate, Samoans especially. Nauru was first inhabited by Polynesianand and Micronesian people at least 3,000 years. Then between 1798 - 1888, Brits and Germans arrived. I feel you have a good point. A Europian diet in a tropical climate is not a good combo. Usually in cold country a person needs more fat to store for the winter with faster metabolisms in the spring.

Because of the obesity rate in Nauru the life expectancy in 2006 was 58.0 years for males and 65.0 years for females... devistating.

Bronson_Hub from San Francisco, CA on February 06, 2011:

Such a well written article. I'm bookmarking this one for work! I had to look up the top 3 on there. Maybe some of the growth in places like Nauru come a higher population of endomorph somatotypes (people prone to storing more fat) influence by western diets. I had a Samoan friend I worked out with whose body fit the stereotype. He swore that eating a burrito would make him expand like a balloon. I think he exaggerated, but it would be interesting to hear other testimonies.