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America, grab yourself a congratulatory custard-filled donut sandwich packed with French Fries, cheddar cheese and SPAM—we’re not the world’s fattest country among developed nations anymore.
According to a new report from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, nearly a third of Mexican adults (32.8 percent) are considered obese. These are people aged 20 and up whose body mass index (BMI) is 30 and above.
In America, only 31.8 percent of adults are considered obese—so not only did another country beat us, but by one whole percentage point.
After this the numbers continue to surprise. Syria is actually the third fattest at 31.6, while Venezuela and Libya are tied for fourth at 30.8 percent.
Now stop laughing, here are the serious facts: Mexico’s urban lifestyle and rising income levels combined with malnourishment among the country’s poor have helped the country claim this unhealthy recognition.
“The same people who are malnourished are the ones who are becoming obese,” Abelardo Avila, a physician with Mexico’s National Nutrition Institute, told the Global Post. “In the poor classes we have obese parents and malnourished children. The worst thing is the children are becoming programmed for obesity. It’s a very serious epidemic.”
As a result of this condition, diabetes kills an estimated 70,000 people a year in Mexico—“or roughly equal to the deaths authorities say are caused by more than six years of the country’s gangland wars,” the Post noted.
According to the U.N. report, about 12 percent of the global population is obese. The world’s fattest nation overall is Nauru, a South Pacific island where an overwhelming 71.1 percent of its 10,000 inhabitants are obese.
Another dire situation is American Samoa, which has been identified in the past as the world’s heaviest, but isn’t included in the U.N. report. According to a 2010 World Health Organization report, nearly all of that Pacific island’s citizens are considered overweight: 95 percent.
Japan is on the lighter side as the thinnest developed country. Only 4.5 of Japanese adults are considered obese according to the U.N.