Most Obese Countries 2022

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Obesity is a growing global concern. Data suggests the number of obese people in the world has tripled since 1975 to approximately 2.1 billion—roughly 30% of the total population—and this number continues to rise.

Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable death, dramatically decreasing not just a person's overall quality of life but also their life expectancy. Obesity puts people at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. Additional health risks from diabetes include osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, kidney disease, strokes, and high blood pressure. Pregnant women who are obese may suffer from complications that can lead to health problems for the mother or child.

Because of the many health concerns associated with obesity, it can be used as a major overall health indicator of a population. The healthiest countries in the world generally have lower obesity rates.

The good and bad of BMI

One frequently used measure of obesity all over the world is Body Mass Index, or BMI. Introduced in the 1830s, this measure considers a person's weight in relation to their height. A normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, and a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

Despite its popularity, BMI is widely considered to be a flawed metric. It fails to consider vital influencing factors such as body type, gender, age, and bone density. Moreover, BMI can't distinguish between muscle and fat.

This can lead to clearly inaccurate results, particularly in athletes. For example, professional wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in his prime was a heavily muscled picture of physical fitness—but his 6'2" height and 252-lb (114kg) weight gave him a BMI of 32.4, classifying him as obese.

Because of results such as these, BMI is a fairly imprecise determiner of whether or not a given person is overweight. However, because of its global ubiquity, it remains the best currently available metric to use for country-to-country comparisons.

A newer, but notably more consistent test for obesity is waist-to-height ratio, or WHtR. According to WHtR, a person is obese if the circumference of their waist measures more than half their height. Thus, a WHtR of .5 or lower is healthy, and a WHtR of higher than .5 is obese (though the cutoff rises to .6 for patients aged 50 and older).

Obesity from country to country

National obesity is typically measured by examining either the average BMI of its citizens or the percentage of citizens whose BMI qualifies as obese. These methods give similar, but different results. For example, the World Health Organization's 2016 data yields the following results:

10 Most Obese Countries in the World, 2016 (measured by average BMI)*:

  1. Cook Islands (32.9)
  2. Nauru (32.5)
  3. Niue (32.4)
  4. Samoa (32.2)
  5. Tonga (32.2)
  6. Tuvalu (30.8)
  7. Kiribati (30.1)
  8. Saint Lucia (30.0)
  9. Micronesia (29.7)
  10. Egypt (29.6)

10 Most Obese Countries in the World, 2016 (measured by percentage of obese adults)*:

  1. Nauru (61.0%)
  2. Cook Islands (55.9%)
  3. Palau (55.3%)
  4. Marshall Islands (52.9%)
  5. Tuvalu (51.6%)
  6. Niue (50%)
  7. Tonga (48.2%)
  8. Samoa (47.3%)
  9. Kiribati (46.0%)
  10. Micronesia (45.8%)

*For the complete list of all countries, see the table below.

While it's easy to assume that the easy availability of rich, decadent foods in the world's wealthiest and most developed countries would make them the most obese, this isn't always the case. The United States and the United Kingdom are two of the most economically rich and developed countries globally. However, they'd place 18th and 48th respectively when ranked by BMI, and 123rd and 95th when ranked by percentage of obese adults.

Oceania seems to be especially challenged by obesity. One proposed cause is that foreigners taught the locals to fry their meals, abandoning their traditional cultivation, preparation, and preserving skills. Other possible factors include genetic predisposition; an increased tendency to replace local food sources with less nutritious imported options; and the rise of fast-food restaurants, which have replaced healthier local food (a scenario mirrored in Kuwait).

Additionally, the World Health Organization posits that the rising costs of healthy food and increased food scarcity in underdeveloped nations is a contributing factor to obesity in poor and/or developing nations and least developed nations.

Here are the 10 most obese countries by obesity rate:

  1. Nauru (61.00%)
  2. Cook Islands (55.90%)
  3. Palau (55.30%)
  4. Marshall Islands (52.90%)
  5. Tuvalu (51.60%)
  6. Niue (50.00%)
  7. Tonga (48.20%)
  8. Samoa (47.30%)
  9. Kiribati (46.00%)
  10. Micronesia (45.80%)

Most Obese Countries 2022

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Most Obese Countries 2022

Country Obesity Rate - Both Obesity Rate - Female Obesity Rate - Male Mean BMI - Female (kg/m²) Mean BMI - Male (kg/m²) Mean BMI - Both (kg/m²) 2022 Population
Nauru61.00%63.30%58.70%32.7032.2032.5010,903
Cook Islands55.90%59.20%52.60%33.1032.7032.9017,571
Palau55.30%58.80%51.80%29.6029.5029.5018,233
Marshall Islands52.90%57.30%48.40%30.4028.8029.6060,057
Tuvalu51.60%56.20%47.00%31.6030.0030.8012,066
Niue50.00%55.10%44.80%33.3031.4032.401,622
Tonga48.20%54.50%41.40%33.7030.5032.20107,749
Samoa47.30%55.00%39.90%34.1030.4032.20202,239
Kiribati46.00%50.40%41.60%31.1029.0030.10123,419
Micronesia45.80%51.50%40.10%31.4028.1029.70117,489
Kuwait37.90%45.60%33.30%30.4029.0029.604,380,326
United States36.20%37.00%35.50%28.9028.8028.90334,805,269
Jordan35.50%43.10%28.20%29.8028.3029.0010,300,869
Saudi Arabia35.40%42.30%30.80%29.2028.0028.5035,844,909
Qatar35.10%43.10%32.50%30.1028.8029.202,979,915
Libya32.50%39.60%25.00%29.2026.9028.107,040,745
Turkey32.10%39.20%24.40%28.6027.1027.9085,561,976
Egypt32.00%41.10%22.70%31.4027.8029.60106,156,692
Lebanon32.00%37.00%27.40%27.4027.9027.606,684,849
United Arab Emirates31.70%41.00%27.50%29.4028.0028.4010,081,785
Bahamas31.60%38.10%24.40%28.8027.1028.00400,516
New Zealand30.80%31.40%30.10%28.0028.1028.004,898,203
Iraq30.40%37.00%23.40%29.7027.8028.8042,164,965
Fiji30.20%35.30%25.10%28.8026.6027.70909,466
Bahrain29.80%36.80%25.50%24.8024.8024.801,783,983
Canada29.40%29.30%29.50%26.6027.3026.9038,388,419
Australia29.00%28.40%29.60%26.7027.6027.1026,068,792
Mexico28.90%32.80%24.30%28.4027.5028.00131,562,772
Malta28.90%28.50%29.20%26.3027.7027.10444,033
South Africa28.30%39.60%15.40%29.3025.0027.3060,756,135
Argentina28.30%29.00%27.30%27.6027.8027.7046,010,234
Chile28.00%31.00%24.90%28.1027.8028.0019,250,195
Uruguay27.90%30.60%24.90%27.3027.3027.403,496,016
Dominica27.90%35.60%19.90%29.0025.0027.0072,344
United Kingdom27.80%28.60%26.90%27.0027.3027.1068,497,907
Syria27.80%34.80%20.90%29.2027.4028.3019,364,809
Dominican Republic27.60%34.10%21.00%27.4025.5026.5011,056,370
Algeria27.40%34.90%19.90%26.4024.7025.5045,350,148
Oman27.00%33.70%22.90%26.3026.4026.305,323,993
Tunisia26.90%34.30%19.10%27.1025.5026.3012,046,656
Hungary26.40%24.60%28.20%26.4028.2027.309,606,259
Suriname26.40%33.70%18.90%27.7025.4026.50596,831
Lithuania26.30%27.80%24.20%25.8027.0026.402,661,708
Morocco26.10%32.20%19.40%26.5025.4026.0037,772,756
Israel26.10%26.20%25.90%26.9027.6027.308,922,892
Iran25.80%32.20%19.30%27.0025.2026.1086,022,837
Costa Rica25.70%30.40%21.10%27.9026.8027.305,182,354
Venezuela25.60%28.60%22.40%26.8026.6026.7029,266,991
Andorra25.60%25.30%25.90%26.1027.3026.7077,463
Ireland25.30%25.50%25.10%27.0027.9027.505,020,199
Vanuatu25.20%30.10%20.20%26.8025.6026.20321,832
Bulgaria25.00%24.30%25.50%25.7027.1026.406,844,597
Greece24.90%25.40%24.20%26.7027.5027.1010,316,637
Jamaica24.70%33.40%15.30%29.6025.8027.802,985,094
Cuba24.60%30.30%18.90%26.0025.2025.6011,305,652
El Salvador24.60%28.90%18.90%28.3026.8027.706,550,389
Belarus24.50%26.30%22.10%26.6026.4026.609,432,800
Croatia24.40%24.50%24.10%26.8028.0027.404,059,286
Ukraine24.10%25.70%22.00%26.2026.9026.6043,192,122
Belize24.10%31.50%16.50%30.5027.5029.10412,190
Spain23.80%22.80%24.60%24.8027.0025.9046,719,142
Nicaragua23.70%29.00%17.90%27.9026.5027.206,779,100
Saint Vincent And the Grenadines23.70%31.00%16.60%28.2026.3027.20111,551
Latvia23.60%25.10%21.60%26.2027.0026.701,848,837
Montenegro23.30%23.10%23.30%26.1027.0026.50627,950
Russia23.10%26.90%18.10%26.4025.8026.20145,805,947
Poland23.10%22.20%23.70%25.9027.4026.7037,739,785
Norway23.10%22.50%23.60%26.1027.3026.705,511,370
Barbados23.10%31.30%14.70%29.2026.4027.80288,023
Saint Kitts And Nevis22.90%30.10%15.30%30.7028.2029.5053,871
Haiti22.70%26.90%17.90%24.2026.5025.3011,680,283
Panama22.70%27.60%17.80%27.7026.2026.904,446,964
Luxembourg22.60%20.70%24.50%25.6027.0026.30642,371
Romania22.50%21.60%23.40%26.8027.0026.9019,031,335
Solomon Islands22.50%27.10%17.90%26.9025.7026.30721,159
North Macedonia22.40%22.10%22.60%26.2027.3026.802,081,304
Germany22.30%20.40%24.20%25.8027.3026.6083,883,596
Colombia22.30%26.60%17.60%26.6025.8026.2051,512,762
Finland22.20%20.60%23.70%25.5026.4025.905,554,960
Brazil22.10%25.40%18.50%26.8026.3026.60215,353,593
Belgium22.10%21.00%23.10%25.6026.6026.1011,668,278
Iceland21.90%19.40%24.20%25.5027.0026.20345,393
Cyprus21.80%21.60%21.90%26.0027.5026.801,223,387
Georgia21.70%23.80%19.20%27.6027.5027.603,968,738
Albania21.70%21.80%21.60%26.3027.0026.702,866,374
France21.60%21.10%22.00%24.2025.9025.0065,584,518
Serbia21.50%21.80%21.10%25.5026.6026.108,653,016
Honduras21.40%26.90%15.60%27.6025.9026.8010,221,247
Papua New Guinea21.30%25.80%16.60%26.0025.3025.609,292,169
Grenada21.30%29.00%13.30%28.8025.2027.00113,475
Guatemala21.20%26.40%15.10%27.3025.7026.6018,584,039
Estonia21.20%21.80%20.30%25.9026.9026.401,321,910
Kazakhstan21.00%22.70%18.90%26.4026.3026.4019,205,043
Portugal20.80%21.20%20.30%25.1026.1025.6010,140,570
Sweden20.60%18.10%23.10%25.4026.7026.0010,218,971
Mongolia20.60%23.20%17.50%26.6025.9026.203,378,078
Slovakia20.50%19.90%21.00%25.5027.3026.405,460,193
Netherlands20.40%20.00%20.80%25.1026.0025.6017,211,447
Paraguay20.30%23.40%17.10%26.9026.5026.707,305,843
Bolivia20.20%25.60%14.50%27.7025.3026.6011,992,656
Armenia20.20%23.00%17.10%27.0025.6026.302,971,966
Slovenia20.20%21.00%19.40%26.5026.6026.602,078,034
Guyana20.20%27.10%12.70%27.7025.1026.40794,045
Austria20.10%18.30%21.90%24.6026.5025.609,066,710
Italy19.90%19.50%20.10%24.7026.5025.6060,262,770
Ecuador19.90%24.70%14.90%27.9026.6027.3018,113,361
Azerbaijan19.90%23.60%15.80%27.9026.1027.1010,300,205
Peru19.70%24.20%15.20%27.1026.2026.7033,684,208
Denmark19.70%17.00%22.30%24.4026.2025.305,834,950
Saint Lucia19.70%27.00%12.00%30.4029.6030.00185,113
Switzerland19.50%16.90%22.20%23.7026.7025.208,773,637
Moldova18.90%21.10%16.20%27.3026.6027.004,013,171
Botswana18.90%29.30%8.10%26.1022.5024.302,441,162
Antigua And Barbuda18.90%25.90%11.60%27.7025.7026.7099,509
Turkmenistan18.60%20.90%15.90%26.6026.5026.606,201,943
Trinidad And Tobago18.60%26.00%10.80%28.6026.6027.601,406,585
Bosnia And Herzegovina17.90%18.40%17.10%25.1026.4025.803,249,317
Namibia17.20%25.40%7.50%25.3022.9024.202,633,874
Yemen17.10%22.00%12.00%24.1023.6023.8031,154,867
Uzbekistan16.60%19.00%13.80%27.4026.3026.9034,382,084
Kyrgyzstan16.60%18.60%14.00%27.2025.9026.606,728,271
Lesotho16.60%26.70%4.60%27.0022.7024.902,175,699
Eswatini16.50%26.20%5.40%28.9024.5026.801,184,817
Malaysia15.60%17.90%13.00%26.1025.3025.7033,181,072
Zimbabwe15.50%25.30%4.70%25.3022.2023.8015,331,428
Gabon15.00%20.30%9.60%26.5024.0025.202,331,533
Tajikistan14.20%16.70%11.60%26.3025.8026.109,957,464
Brunei14.10%15.70%12.50%27.2027.2027.20445,431
Seychelles14.00%20.50%7.60%27.9025.5026.7099,426
Djibouti13.50%18.30%8.60%24.6023.4024.001,016,097
Mauritania12.70%18.50%6.60%26.6023.2024.904,901,981
Sao Tome And Principe12.40%16.90%7.20%25.6023.9024.80227,679
Cameroon11.40%16.40%6.10%25.1023.6024.3027,911,548
Ghana10.90%16.60%4.50%25.2022.5023.9032,395,450
Mauritius10.80%15.70%5.60%25.9024.6025.201,274,727
Ivory Coast10.30%15.20%5.80%24.2023.4023.8027,742,298
Gambia10.30%14.80%5.60%24.5023.4024.002,558,482
Thailand10.00%12.70%7.00%25.0023.9024.4070,078,203
Liberia9.90%14.20%5.50%25.1023.1024.105,305,117
Benin9.60%14.20%4.70%24.5022.6023.5012,784,726
Guinea Bissau9.50%13.70%5.00%24.0022.8023.402,063,367
Nigeria8.90%13.10%4.60%23.9022.5023.20216,746,934
Senegal8.80%12.90%4.00%24.0021.8023.0017,653,671
Sierra Leone8.70%13.30%3.80%23.5021.9022.708,306,436
Pakistan8.60%11.30%6.00%24.6023.3023.90229,488,994
Sudan8.60%12.40%3.80%25.9023.1024.7045,992,020
Mali8.60%12.40%4.60%23.1022.9023.0021,473,764
Maldives8.60%11.40%5.80%26.3024.6025.50540,985
Tanzania8.40%12.70%4.00%24.1022.3023.2063,298,550
Togo8.40%12.50%3.90%24.5022.5023.608,680,837
Somalia8.30%12.30%3.90%23.9022.5023.2016,841,795
Angola8.20%12.10%4.00%24.3022.3023.3035,027,343
Zambia8.10%12.40%3.60%23.7021.3022.6019,470,234
Equatorial Guinea8.00%12.60%3.80%25.9022.3024.001,496,662
Comoros7.80%12.20%3.30%25.6023.3024.50907,419
Guinea7.70%11.50%3.70%23.4022.4022.9013,865,691
Central African Republic7.50%10.90%3.70%23.7022.0022.905,016,678
Mozambique7.20%10.50%3.30%23.4022.0022.8033,089,461
Kenya7.10%11.10%2.80%24.5022.1023.3056,215,221
Indonesia6.90%8.90%4.80%23.8022.5023.10279,134,505
North Korea6.80%7.30%6.10%24.0024.2024.1025,990,679
DR Congo6.70%9.70%3.60%22.6021.3022.0095,240,792
Philippines6.40%7.50%5.20%23.5022.8023.20112,508,994
Bhutan6.40%8.50%4.70%24.5023.5023.90787,941
China6.20%6.50%5.90%23.5024.2023.801,448,471,400
Chad6.10%8.90%3.10%21.9021.9021.9017,413,580
Singapore6.10%6.30%5.80%23.0024.3023.605,943,546
Myanmar5.80%7.30%4.00%23.0022.2022.6055,227,143
Malawi5.80%9.10%2.20%23.2022.6022.9020,180,839
Rwanda5.80%9.30%1.90%22.8021.3022.1013,600,464
Burkina Faso5.60%8.10%2.60%22.1022.2022.2022,102,838
Afghanistan5.50%7.60%3.20%24.1022.6023.4040,754,388
Niger5.50%8.70%2.50%22.3021.4021.8026,083,660
Burundi5.40%8.60%2.10%21.6021.8021.7012,624,840
Uganda5.30%8.60%1.80%23.3021.6022.5048,432,863
Madagascar5.30%7.50%3.00%21.1021.5021.3029,178,077
Laos5.30%6.70%3.70%23.1022.7022.907,481,023
Sri Lanka5.20%7.30%2.90%23.7022.5023.1021,575,842
Eritrea5.00%7.60%2.00%21.1020.2020.703,662,244
South Korea4.70%4.80%4.40%23.1024.4023.8051,329,899
Ethiopia4.50%6.90%1.90%21.1020.1020.60120,812,698
Japan4.30%3.70%4.80%21.8023.6022.70125,584,838
Nepal4.10%5.40%2.70%22.5022.5022.5030,225,582
India3.90%5.10%2.70%21.9021.7021.801,406,631,776
Cambodia3.90%4.80%2.70%22.3022.1022.2017,168,639
Timor Leste3.80%4.90%2.60%21.3021.3021.301,369,429
Bangladesh3.60%5.00%2.30%22.0021.3021.70167,885,689
South Sudan0.00%0.00%0.00%0.000.000.0011,618,511
Monaco0.00%0.00%0.00%0.000.000.0039,783
San Marino0.00%0.00%0.00%0.000.000.0034,085

Most Obese Countries 2022

Sources