With obesity rates bulging, prominent US-based health magazine Men's Health just wrapped up its roundup of the fattest cities in the US. But how does the rest of the world weigh in?
1. American Samoa, 93.5 percent (of the population that is overweight) - Pacific Islanders have abandoned traditional foods for cheap processed foods from the West, and they have the waistlines to prove it.
2. Kiribati, 81.5 percent - This nation has been flooded with processed foods (i.e., Spam) sold at lower prices than the local, native food.
3. United States, 66.7 percent - Staggering obesity in the US is the result of sedentary lifestyles, processed and fast foods, and high-fructose corn syrup.
4. Germany, 66.5 percent - German waistlines are expanding to match those in the US, thanks to beer, fatty foods, and inactivity.
5. Egypt, 66 percent - Egyptian women are particularly at risk, perhaps helped by cultural taboos on women exercising or playing sports.
6. Bosnia-Herzegovina, 62.9 percent - Smoking, drinking, and eating unhealthy foods spiked during the war in the country in the 1990s.
7. New Zealand, 62.7 percent - Another English-speaking nation falls victim to obesity trends.
8. Israel, 61.9 percent - Due to its Western world lifestyle, obesity rates here have tripled in 30 years.
9. Croatia, 61.4 percent - Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death here.
10. United Kingdom, 61 percent - A recent survey ranked Brits among the bottom third of European nations to exercise.
In September, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its own report ranking the fattest and fittest nations. The US topped the list with the most overweight and obese adults, but Mexico, Australia, and Canada also were cited as having populations exceeding 60 percent overweight. Look to Japan, Korea, India, Indonesia and China for thinner adults (1-4 percent obese).
According to the WHO "by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight, more than 700 million will be obese and 20 million children under the age of 5 years are overweight globally in 2005."
The WHO explains how you can cut your portion of the world's fat:
- achieve energy balance and a healthy weight
- limit energy intake from total fats and shift fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats
- increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts
- limit the intake of sugars
- increase physical activity (at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity may be required for weight control)
To see the Men's Health roundup of the fattest cities in the US: http://www.menshealth.com/fattestcities2010/
To access a WHO database detailing obesity rates in your area: https://apps.who.int/infobase/Index.aspx
For further reading: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/facts/obesity/en/