Special Report

The World’s Most Overweight Countries

Cheyenne Buckingham, Michael B. Sauter

The prevalence of adults who are overweight or obese is on the rise — global obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. Close to 2 billion adults worldwide, or 39% of the global adult population, were considered overweight in 2016. In some of the most overweight countries, the percentage is at least double that. Of these near 2 billion overweight adults worldwide, 650 million or 13% of adults, were classified as obese.

A body mass index score, or BMI, is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the their height in meters squared.The World Health Organization defines being overweight as having a body mass index of 25 or greater. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or greater.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed World Health Organization 2016 BMI data for adults in 195 countries. In the 20 most overweight countries, at least 66% of adults have a BMI of 25 or greater.

The 20 countries with the largest percentages of adults who are overweight are located almost entirely in two regions of the world: the Middle East and Oceania. Seven countries in the lower half of the most overweight nations are located in the Middle East. All 10 of the nations where the largest share of adults are overweight are Oceanic countries.

Click here to see the world’s most overweight countries.
Click here to read our detailed finding and methodology.