World’s fattest countries REVEALED in new interactive map

It’s one of the world’s most remote islands, home to picturesque beaches, golden sands and even an underground lake. 

Yet the Pacific island of Nauru doesn’t just top the chart for being one of the most luxurious holiday destinations.

For data suggests it’s actually the fattest country in the world.

Almost nine in 10 people on the island, a four-and-a-half hour flight from Brisbane, are overweight. 

The 10 MOST overweight nations in the world

1. Nauru – 88.5 per cent 

2. Palau – 85.1 per cent 

3. Cook Islands – 84.7 per cent 

4. Marshall Islands – 83.5 per cent 

5. Tuvalu – 81.9 per cent 

6. Niue – 80.0 per cent 

7. Kiribati – 78.7 per cent 

8. Tonga – 78.5 per cent 

9. Samoa – 77.6 per cent 

10. Micronesia – 75.9 per cent 

The 10 LEAST overweight nations in the world

1. Vietnam – 18.3 per cent 

2. India – 19.7 per cent 

3. Bangladesh – 20.0 per cent 

4. Ethiopia – 20.9 per cent 

5. Nepal – 21.0 per cent 

6. Timor – 21.6 per cent 

7. Cambodia – 21.7 per cent 

8. Eritrea – 22.0 per cent 

9. Niger – 22.0 per cent 

10. Burundi – 22.2 per cent  

In contrast, Vietnam holds the accolade for being the skinniest nation. 

Just 18.3 per cent of the south-east Asian nation’s population were recorded to be overweight or obese during the most recent global study. 

A fascinating interactive map published by Our World in Data — which MailOnline app users can see by clicking here — illustrates the huge divide in obesity rates.

The data comes from a compilation of figures from 195 countries around the globe in 2016.

It showed that over a third — or 39 per cent — of the world’s adults were overweight or obese.

Roughly 64 per cent of Brits and 68 per cent of Americans are also fat, figures show. 

The stats come from the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, which recorded worldwide trends of 128.9m people between 1975 and 2016.

It looked at data on body mass, specifically the amount of people who were underweight, overweight or obese.

Not one single nation saw a decrease in obesity rates during the time period, the data published by Our World in Data revealed. 

All ten of the world’s fattest nations were found in the Pacific, with the island of Palau reporting the second highest share of adults that are overweight or obese, at 85.1 per cent.

This was followed by the Cook Islands, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu who recorded rates of 84.7 per cent, 83.5 per cent and 81.9 per cent, respectively.

Outside of the pacific, Kuwait reported a rate of 73.4 per cent, placing it in eleventh position.

The US was 15th, Australia 25th and Britain 30th in the league table of 195 nations.

The world’s third smallest country Nauru recorded the highest rate of adults who are either obese or overweight at 88.5 per cent. Pictured above, the Buada Lagoon in Nauru

Vietnam recorded the lowest levels worldwide of obesity and adults who are overweight at just 18.3 per cent. Pictured above, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Vietnam recorded the lowest levels worldwide of obesity and adults who are overweight at just 18.3 per cent. Pictured above, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 


Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height. 

Standard Formula:

  • BMI = (weight in pounds / (height in inches x height in inches)) x 703

Metric Formula:

  • BMI = (weight in kilograms / (height in meters x height in meters))


  • Under 18.5: Underweight
  • 18.5 – 24.9: Healthy
  • 25 – 29.9: Overweight
  • 30 – 39.9: Obese 
  • 40+: Morbidly obese 

Being overweight is defined as have a body mass index (BMI) measure of equal to or greater than 25, while obesity is recorded as an adult having a BMI of 30 or over. 

A healthy person’s BMI — calculated by dividing weight in kg by height in metres, and the answer by the height again — is between 18.5 and 24.9. 

Obesity is a risk factor for several of the world’s leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and various types of cancer.  

Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity, can also lead to complications like heart disease, vision loss and kidney problems.   

According to The Lancet’s 2017 Global Burden of Disease study, 4.7 million people died prematurely in 2017 as a result of obesity.

In the UK, obesity and illnesses related to it cost the NHS an estimated £6.1billion a year, with it set to rise to over £9.7 billion each year by 2050.

It is also believed to be responsible for more than 30,000 deaths each year in the UK. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that obesity costs the US healthcare system nearly $173billion a year.   

According to Our World in Data, globally, 13 per cent of adults aged 18 years and older were recorded to be obese in 2016.

In comparison, alongside Vietnam who recorded the lowest levels of people who were overweight or obese, India reported the second lowest share at 19.7 per cent. 

Bangladesh scored third least overweight nation in the world at 20.0 per cent exactly.  

In most high-income countries, around two-thirds of adults were overweight or obese.

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