25 Countries With Highest Rates of Obesity in 2024: The Global Epidemic


In this article, we’re going to delve into the world of obesity, a health issue that is increasingly becoming a global concern. We’ll be exploring the 25 countries with the highest obesity rates and discussing the impact of obesity on productivity and health.

We’ll also touch upon some promising treatments that are making waves in the medical world. Obesity is more than just a health condition; it’s a debilitating disease that can drastically affect a person’s day-to-day life.

From struggling with routine tasks like walking or driving to facing the challenge of finding clothes that fit, obesity can be a constant battle. Moreover, it opens the door to other serious health conditions, such as diabetes.

In fact, experts predict that by 2030, the global sales of obesity treatments could reach a staggering $54 billion, as more and more individuals seek medical help to combat obesity. The World Health Organization (WHO) data reveals that obesity was responsible for 8% of total global deaths in 2017.

Countries like Fiji, Bahrain, and American Samoa were hit the hardest, with obesity causing 29.3%, 25.69%, and 23.53% of deaths, respectively. The economic impact of obesity is also significant, with estimates suggesting that it could exceed $4 trillion by 2024.

Sadly, obesity is not just an adult problem. Predictions indicate that by 2035, the number of obese boys could double, and the number of obese girls could increase by 125%.

This means that the 100 million obese boys in 2020 could potentially double to 200 million by 2035, with the number of girls reaching 175 million. Most of this growth is expected to occur in low-income countries, where treatment options are limited or unaffordable.

On a positive note, recent years have seen the development of new drugs designed to aid weight loss. Companies like Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) and Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO) have introduced treatments that are already showing promising results.

However, these treatments can be costly, and many patients stop using them within a year due to side effects or financial constraints. So, how do these drugs work?

They essentially help to suppress food cravings, reducing what is often referred to as ‘food noise‘ – the constant thoughts about what to eat next. However, like any medication, they come with their own set of side effects.

Join us as we delve deeper into this pressing issue, exploring the global impact of obesity and the promising solutions on the horizon.

Our Approach

In order to create our ranking of countries with the highest obesity rates, we began by utilizing data from the World Health Organization (WHO). This data provides the percentage of each country’s population with a Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeding 30.

Subsequently, we calculated the equivalent number of obese individuals per 100,000 population. The final list of the world’s most obese countries was derived based on these calculations.

Our List

25. Kingdom of Bahrain


Obese People Per 100,000: 29,800

Bahrain, a Western Asian country, has a GDP per capita of $29,103. It’s a nation rich in natural resources and oil, which are the main drivers of its economy. The country is also known for its pearl fisheries, which are considered the best in the world.

24. Republic of Fiji


Obese People Per 100,000: 30,200

Fiji, a Pacific island nation, is one of the world’s smallest countries. It has a population of close to a million and a high obesity rate. Fiji is renowned for its stunning beaches and vibrant coral reefs, attracting tourists from around the globe.

23. Republic of Iraq


Obese People Per 100,000: 30,400

Iraq, a Western Asian country with a population of 43.5 million, is one of the world’s largest oil producers. High consumption of carbonated beverages contributes to the country’s obesity rate.

Iraq is also known for its rich history and culture, with several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

22. New Zealand

New Zealand

Obese People Per 100,000: 30,800

New Zealand, an island nation with a high-income economy and a GDP per capita of $47,278, has an obesity rate of 30.8%. Despite this, the average BMI for men and women is below 30.

The country is famous for its stunning landscapes, which were showcased in the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy.

21. Commonwealth of The Bahamas


Obese People Per 100,000: 31,600

The Bahamas, a West Indian country with a population of about 400,000, plays a significant role in the global cruise and cargo shipping industries. Its offshore financial sector is also crucial to its economy.

The Bahamas is known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant marine life.

20. United Arab Emirates


Obese People Per 100,000: 31,700

The UAE, a Middle Eastern country, has seen rapid economic growth over the past few decades, primarily through petroleum exports. It also has a well-developed service sector.

The UAE is famous for its modern architecture, including the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

19. Arab Republic of Egypt


Obese People Per 100,000: 32,000

Egypt, one of the world’s oldest countries, has a population of 109 million. The average BMI for Egyptians is on the brink of obesity, at 29.2.

Egypt is renowned for its ancient civilization, including the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx.

18. Republic of Lebanon


Obese People Per 100,000: 32,000

Lebanon, a Middle Eastern country, has one of the region’s smallest economies at $19 billion. Despite recent economic crises, Lebanon is known for its rich culture, history, and cuisine.

17. Republic of Türkiye (Turkey)

Turkey 4K

Obese People Per 100,000: 32,100

Turkey, a nation straddling Europe and Asia, has a dynamic economy with industrial and high-tech sectors. It also has the highest obesity rate in Europe.

Turkey is famous for its rich history, diverse culture, and delicious cuisine.

16. State of Libya


Obese People Per 100,000: 32,500

Libya, an African nation, benefits from vast oil resources and a small population, leading to high levels of housing and educational security programs. Libya is home to several ancient Greek and Roman ruins, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Leptis Magna.

15. State of Qatar

Obese People Per 100,000: 35,100

Qatar, one of the world’s wealthiest countries, has a GDP per capita of $82,877. Its economy is primarily fueled by tourism and oil exports.

Qatar is known for its modern architecture and is set to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

14. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Obese People Per 100,000: 35,400

Saudi Arabia, an oil-rich nation, is the world’s largest oil exporter and has a trillion-dollar economy. Saudi Arabia is also known for its Islamic heritage sites, including Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities in Islam.

13. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan


Obese People Per 100,000: 35,500

Jordan, a country with a rich history, has a population of 11 million. It’s home to numerous landmarks and archaeological sites, including the ancient city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

12. United States of America


Obese People Per 100,000: 38,200

Americans consume more than two hundred liters of sugary beverages each year. The U.S. is also the most obese developed country in the world, and some states have obesity rates in excess of 70%.

11. State of Kuwait


Obese People Per 100,000: 37,900

Kuwait is another prosperous Middle Eastern nation. It has a $183 billion economy and a GDP per capita of $38,123.

10. Federated States of Micronesia


Obese People Per 100,000: 45,800

Micronesia is one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of area and population. Nearly half of its population is obese, and agriculture is the dominant sector in the economy.

9. Republic of Kiribati

The Kiribati Way

Obese People Per 100,000: 46,000

Kiribati is another island country with a small $248 million economy. The country benefits from international assistance and has a GDP per capita of $1,989.

8. Independent State of Samoa


Obese People Per 100,000: 47,300

Samoa is an island nation with a relatively diversified economy based on some manufactured goods, agricultural products, and petroleum exports.

7. Kingdom of Tonga


Obese People Per 100,000: 48,200

Tonga is an island country made of close to two hundred islands. Its economy relies mostly on the agricultural sector to earn foreign exchange.

6. Niue


Obese People Per 100,000: 50,000

Niue has just a hundred thousand people living in it, so safe to say, roughly half of its population is obese.

5. Republic of Palau


Obese People Per 100,000: 55,300

Palau is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean. It has a small population of around 21,000 people and its economy is based on tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing.

4. Republic of Nauru


Obese People Per 100,000: 61,000

Nauru is a tiny island country in Micronesia, northeast of Australia. It has a population of just over 10,000 people. The economy relies heavily on the phosphate deposits derived from the droppings of sea birds.

3. Cook Islands


Obese People Per 100,000: 64,100

The Cook Islands is a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand, located in the South Pacific. Its economy is based on tourism, offshore banking, pearls, marine, and fruit exports.

2. Republic of the Marshall Islands


Obese People Per 100,000: 67,400

The Marshall Islands is a chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the central Pacific Ocean. It has a mixed economy that is based on subsistence agriculture, fishing, and the assistance of the U.S. under the terms of the amended Compact of Free Association.

1. American Samoa

American Samoa

Obese People Per 100,000: 74,600

American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean. It has a traditional Polynesian economy in which more than 90% of the land is communally owned.

Economic activity is strongly linked to the U.S. with which American Samoa conducts most of its commerce.


What is obesity?

Obesity is a medical condition characterized by an excessive amount of body fat. It is typically measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI), a metric calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters.

A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese.

What causes obesity?

Obesity is primarily caused by an energy imbalance between the number of calories consumed and the number expended. Factors contributing to this imbalance include increased intake of energy-dense foods high in fat and sugars and a decrease in physical activity due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles.

What are the health risks associated?

Obesity is a major risk factor for several noncommunicable diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders (like osteoarthritis), and some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon). The risk for these diseases increases with an increase in BMI.

How prevalent is obesity worldwide?

According to the World Health Organization, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight, and over 650 million were obese.

How can be prevented or treated?

Obesity is largely preventable through a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular physical activity. At the societal level, it’s important to support individuals in making healthier choices through policies that make regular physical activity and healthier dietary choices accessible, available, and affordable.

The food industry can also play a significant role by reducing the fat, sugar, and salt content of processed foods, ensuring that healthy and nutritious choices are available and affordable to all consumers, and restricting the marketing of foods high in sugars, salt, and fats.

What is the economic impact of obesity?

The economic impact of obesity is significant and growing. It is estimated that the global cost of obesity could exceed $4 trillion by 2024.

This includes both direct costs, such as healthcare expenses, and indirect costs, such as lost productivity.

Are children also affected?

Yes, childhood obesity is a serious issue. Predictions indicate that by 2035, the number of obese boys could double, and the number of obese girls could increase by 125%. This is particularly concerning as obese children are at a higher risk of becoming obese adults and developing related non-communicable diseases.

Final Words

In conclusion, obesity is a global issue that affects both developed and developing countries. It is a complex problem that requires a multifaceted approach to address. It’s not just about individual choices, but also about the environments in which we live and the policies and regulations that shape those environments.

The countries listed above have the highest rates of obesity, but it’s a problem that affects us all, and we all have a role to play in addressing it.

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