Americans have been rightfully criticized for becoming so overweight and obese during the last several decades.
In fact, at least a dozen other nations are more overweight and obese than we are.
Mexico, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, and Paraguay to name a few. In these countries, more than two-thirds of their adults are either overweight or obese. That means their BMIs are over 25.
BMI, which stands for Body Mass Index, is a number usually between 20 and 50 that estimates how healthy someone’s weight is based on that person’s height and weight. Between 20 and 25 is considered healthy, 25 to 30 overweight, while 30 and over is obese.
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In the United States, 66 percent of the adults have a BMI exceeding 25, meaning they’re probably overweight or obese. In other words, if you’re at a healthy weight, odds are the person sitting on your left and the person sitting on your right are overweight or obese. Yikes!
Other countries that are fatter than us include the South Pacific islands of Samoa and Tonga, Egypt, Jordan, and Belize. Our friends to the north, Canada, are not far behind the United States at 56 percent overweight or obese.
Among the leanest major countries: Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, and India. They’re all at between 20 percent and 28 percent overweight-obese. Or, another way of putting it, 72 percent to 80 percent of their citizens are a healthy weight.
And the skinniest country:
North Korea with only 4 percent of their people overweight or obese. About 40 percent of North Koreans suffer from hunger, according to United Nations data. Another reason to skip this country on your vacation.
Source of BMI data: Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (GBD 2013) Obesity Prevalence 1990-2013. Seattle, United States: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 2014.
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