World’s smallest independent republic also the fattest

The South Pacific has been declared the world’s fattest region, the BBC reports. And the tiny country of Nauru, the smallest republic in the world, topped the list of the world’s ten most overweight countries. Almost everyone in Nauru—around 94 percent of its estimated adult population of 13,287—is considered overweight or obese. Eight out of ten ...

603751_070226_nauru5.jpg
603751_070226_nauru5.jpg

The South Pacific has been declared the world's fattest region, the BBC reports. And the tiny country of Nauru, the smallest republic in the world, topped the list of the world's ten most overweight countries. Almost everyone in Nauru—around 94 percent of its estimated adult population of 13,287—is considered overweight or obese.

Eight out of ten of the most obese countries are located in South Pacific (the exceptions, the United States and Kuwait, came in at numbers nine and ten respectively). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 90 percent of men and women in the South Pacific fall into the overweight/obese category.

Urbanization, the rise in western-style junk food consumption, and lack of exercise are to blame for rising obesity in the South Pacific, along with cultural factors like the positive association of beauty with weight. Moreover, "obesity has become a problem of poverty," according to Daniel Epstein, a WHO official. As FP reported in 2003:

The South Pacific has been declared the world’s fattest region, the BBC reports. And the tiny country of Nauru, the smallest republic in the world, topped the list of the world’s ten most overweight countries. Almost everyone in Nauru—around 94 percent of its estimated adult population of 13,287—is considered overweight or obese.

Eight out of ten of the most obese countries are located in South Pacific (the exceptions, the United States and Kuwait, came in at numbers nine and ten respectively). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 90 percent of men and women in the South Pacific fall into the overweight/obese category.

Urbanization, the rise in western-style junk food consumption, and lack of exercise are to blame for rising obesity in the South Pacific, along with cultural factors like the positive association of beauty with weight. Moreover, “obesity has become a problem of poverty,” according to Daniel Epstein, a WHO official. As FP reported in 2003:

Obesity now threatens more people in poor countries than undernourishment. Over 115 million adults in the developing world suffer from obesity-related problems, and these numbers are rising more rapidly than those of the 170 million undernourished, according to the World Health Organization. Many developing countries—including China, Mexico, Brazil, and Togo—suffer from higher rates of obesity than undernourishment.

The WHO estimates that over the next 10 years, the number of obese adults in the world will rise by 40 percent, bringing the total to a whopping 2.24 billion.

Prerna Mankad is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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