You can all let out that collective breath you’ve been holding, because the United States is not the world’s heaviest country. Don’t get ahead of yourselves, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be taking the stairs. In fact, after hearing this staggering statistic you will probably opt to take the longer walk. According to Reuters, there are 2.1 billion (yes, billion) obese or over weight people in the world.
The article goes on to explain the cause of the major rise in obesity over the past ten years. “Obesity is a complex problem fueled by the availability of cheap, fatty, sugary, salty, high-calorie ‘junk food’ and the rise of sedentary lifestyles,” it says.
Obesity can create a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and cancer. Weight complications have become such a serious issue that according to the U.N. World Health Organization, obesity is the cause for about 3.4 million deaths annually. So if the country made famous by their super sizes doesn’t come in as the fattest country, who does? According to research gathered by Health Grove, the most overweight country is Samoa, but with 43.4 percent of the population obese, Samoans still have a pretty old life expectancy rate at 73 years.
Although, according to the article, obesity used to be considered a problem of wealthy nations. The list of the 25 most obese countries proves that the issue of obesity has spread across nations of both wealth and poverty.
Looking at the infographic produced by Health Grove, you can see exactly how far the issue spreads across the world.
America comes in at number nine of 25, with about 34 percent of the population considered obese. In comparison, our northern nabobs of Canada rank in at number 22 with a lower obesity rate of only 28 percent, and a considerably higher life expectancy rate of 82 years old.
The research goes on to separate obesity by gender in the specific countries. According to the study, females in countries including Turkey, Barbados, and Papua New Guinea struggle more with obesity than males. In other countries however, including the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada the rates of male and female obesity is almost the same.
According to global health professor Ali Mokdad, a researcher from the U.N. World Health Organization, the key is to remember that obesity is a problem that is much bigger than just vanity.
“We have to remind ourselves that obesity is really not a cosmetic issue. It’s a main risk factor for morbidity and mortality,” Mokdad told Reuters.