CIA: U.S. Is 12th Fattest Nation on Earth

By Staff | April 22, 2019 | 10:27am EDT
(Getty Images/Mario Tama)

The Central Intelligence Agency has ranked the United States as the 12th fattest nation on earth, concluding that there is a higher percentage of fat people in the U.S. population than in the populations of any of the nations of Europe, Africa or the Americas.

According to the CIA's World Factbook, 36.2 percent of the U.S. population was “considered to be obese” as of 2016.

Ten of the eleven nations that ranked ahead of the United States for the percentage of its population that was obese were islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Kuwait, where 37.9 percent of the population was considered obese, was the only non-island nation that outranked the United States for its percentage of obese people.

The South Pacific island nation of Naura ranked No. 1 in the world for obesity, according to the CIA. Sixty-one percent of its population was obese.

The CIA World Factbook describes Nauru, which had a 2018 population of only 9,692, as “the world’s smallest independent republic.”

The Cook Islands, also in the South Pacific, ranked No. 2 for obesity. In 2016, according to the CIA, 55.9 percent of Cook Islanders were deemed obese.

The Cook Islands have a population of only 9,038.

Rounding out the global Top Ten obese nations were Palau (55.3 percent); Marshall Islands (52.9 percent); Tuvalu (51.6 percent); Niue 50.0 percent); Tonga (48.2 percent); Samoa (47.3 percent); Kiribati (46.0 percent); and Micronesia (45.8 percent).


Nations ranked by CIA according to the percentage of their populations considered obese.

All of the eight nations that follow the United States in rounding out the Top 20 were located in the Middle East. Jordan ranked 13th with 35.5 percent of its population considered obese. It was followed by Saudi Arabia (35.4 percent); Qatar (35.1 percent); Libya (32.5 percent); Turkey (32.1 percent); Egypt (32.0 percent); Lebanon (32.0 percent); United Arab Emirates (31.7 percent).

Among European nations, the United Kingdom was the fattest nation, with 27.8 percent of its population considered obese. However, that gave it a global rank of only 36th.

The North American nations of Canada and Mexico both outranked the U.K. in obesity. Canada came in 26th overall with 29.4 percent of its population considered obese. Mexico came in 29th with 28.9 percent of its population considered obese.

Of the 192 nations ranked for obesity in the CIA World Factbook, Vietnam finished last. It ranked 192nd with only 2.1 percent of its population considered obese. It was followed by Bangladesh, where 3.6 percent of the population was considered obese.

The other eight nations in the 10 least obese countries were Timor-Leste (3.8 percent); India (3.9 percent); Cambodia (3.9 percent); Nepal (4.1 percent); Japan (4.3 percent); Ethiopia (4.5 percent); South Korea (4.7 percent); Eritrea (5.0 percent).

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