A simple question at coffee this morning–which country has the highest percentage of adult obesity?–produced a surprising result. Some guessed the US to be the answer, and initial research (conducted not by me but someone with a real job–apparently it was a slow work day) seemed to support it, until someone else raised this question: what about Samoa? More digging produced this chart from Forbes.com
The winner: Nauru, where 94.5 %of the adults are classified as overweight, based on Body Mass Index (BMI), a ratio of weight to height. What I know about Nauru comes from the first story in this episode of This American Life. It’s a fascinating tale, worth the 15 minutes. Samoa placed 6th (80.4% of adults overweight), ahead of the U.S. which came in 9th with 74.1% of adults overweight.
These BMI results should be taken with a grain of salt–or a super-sized order of fries. My BMI is 25.1, enough to include me among the 74.1 percent of overweight adult Americans. I won’t win any body-building prizes but few would consider me overweight. We need a better indicator.