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Obesity levels, non UK regions and countries

The figures given here are from different surveys for different years. Methodologies are not necessarily compatible, but these figures illustrate general trends within countries.  Countries are in alphabetical order (for UK figures see UK Obesity).

 

Obesity is generally defined as a BMI of 30 or more.  Overweight is a BMI of 25-30.

 

Where available, figures are split between male and female; where only an overall figure is available, male and female percentages are given as identical and highlighted yellow.

 

Note that the % overweight may fall in countries where the average weight is increasing, as more people move from the ‘overweight’ into the ‘obese’ category

 

Argentina

1997 34% of adults (39% of men and 29% of women) were overweight. A further 27% of adults are obese (28% of men, 25% of women).

 

Australia

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1980

 

 

7.1%

7.1%

 

 

 

 

1990

 

 

8.7%

8.7%

 

 

 

 

1997

42.0%

42.0%

18.0%

18.0%

10.0%

10.0%

 

 

2000

34.0%

49.0%

22.2%

19.3%

 

 

 

 

2006

38.0%

38.0%

22.0%

22.0%

 

 

 

 

2008

33.0%

33.0%

26.0%

26.0%

 

 

 

 

2012

 

 

28.3%

28.3%

 

 

 

 

 

Austria

2000, 8.5% of adults were obese.

2006, 12.4% of adults were obese

2010, 13.2% of women and 12.4% of men were obese

 

Bahrain

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1991

31.3%

16.0%

29.4%

26.3%

 

 

 

 

 

Belgium

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

2000

 

 

11.0%

11.0%

 

 

 

 

2002

41.0%

62.0%

 

 

18.0%

18.0%

 

 

2003

 

 

14.0%

14.0%

 

 

 

 

2004

 

 

18.0%

12.0%

 

 

 

 

2010

 

 

14.7%

13.3%

 

 

 

 

 

Bolivia

1994, 26% of adults were overweight. A further 8% adults (10% urban, 5% rural) were obese.

 

Brazil

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1975

 

 

8.2%

3.1%

 

 

 

 

1980

29%

18%

 

 

 

 

 

 

1985

 

 

7%

7%

 

 

4%

4%

1989

 

 

13.3%

5.1%

 

 

 

 

1997*

27%

31%

13%

7%

 

 

14%

14%

1999

31%

31%

 

 

 

 

 

 

2003

 

 

10%

27%

 

 

 

 

2008

53%

53%

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010

49%

50%

 

 

 

 

 

 

*1997, The obesity figures broke down to – urban:- 8% men and 13% women, and - rural:-3% men and 10% women.

 

Bulgaria

2002, 20% of children were overweight or obese

2010, 11.3% of women and 11.6% of men were obese

 

Canada

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1972

34.0%

47.0%

13.0%

8.0%

 

 

 

 

1980

 

 

 

 

11.4%

8.6%

1.7%

2.0%

1990

41.0%

58.0%

15.0%

13.0%

 

 

 

 

2000

25.0%

39.0%

13.8%

16.0%

17.0%

20.0%

9.0%

10.0%

2005

31.0%

43.0%

23.0%

23.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Chile

1992, 20% of adults were obese (16% of men, 23% of women).

 

China

Between the late 1980s and early 1990s the number of people overweight rose from 9% to 15% of the population (The Times, 23/1/2000).  This was despite a traditional diet which is vegetable based and has few dairy products.

2003, 15% of men and 16% of women are overweight.  This rises to 33% in the wealthier cities such as Beijing.

2004, In the large cities, 30% of adults are overweight, including 12% who are obese (Times II, 29/10/04, p.11).  Hypertension now affects almost 20% of the Chinese, a 31% increase in a decade.  The prevalence of diabetes has risen from 4.6% in 1998 to 6.4% in 2004.

In a reversal from the usual pattern seen in the West, a Chinese study has found that children from wealthy families are more likely to have a nutritionally poor diet than those of poorer Chinese households (Guardian, 8/1/05, p.18).  Chinese children from high income families are more likely to eat a diet rich in fast food, because of the fast-pace of work and life of their parents; their poorer cousins may eat more home-grown vegetables.  Also some Chinese parents may judge the nutritional value of food by how expensive it is, leading to over-purchasing of burgers and other fast food.  The Guardian article (ibid) also said that as China becomes richer, households shift consumption from vegetables to meat, and especially towards Western-style processed meat and other foods.

2006, 25% of adults were overweight or obese.

 

Colombia,

1995, 31% of adults were overweight. A further 9% of adults (9% urban and 9% rural) were obese.

1999, 43% of adults were overweight.

2003, 21% of adults were obese.

 

Croatia

2002, 27% of children were overweight or obese

 

Cuba,

2003, 6% of adults were obese.

 

Cyprus

2010, 14.5% of women and 16.7% of men were obese

 

Czech Republic

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1993

 

 

11.2%

11.2%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

14.2%

14.2%

 

 

 

 

2002

58.0%

73.0%

 

 

16.0%

16.0%

 

 

2004

43.0%

67.0%

 

 

10.0%

10.0%

 

 

2005

 

 

17.0%

17.0%

 

 

 

 

2010

 

 

18.3%

18.4%

 

 

 

 

 

Denmark,

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1947

 

 

 

 

 

 

0.4%

0.1%

1961

 

 

 

 

 

 

0.65%

0.15%

1971

 

 

 

 

 

 

0.7%

0.4%

1975

 

 

 

 

 

 

0.6%

0.5%

1985

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.4%

2.3%

1988

 

 

5%

5%

 

 

 

 

1990

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.0%

0.9%

1995

 

 

7.6%

7.6%

 

 

2.6%

2.0%

2000

 

 

7.5%

7.5%

 

 

 

 

2003

 

 

9.5%

9.5%

 

 

3.5%

3.0%

2005

 

 

11.4%

11.4%

 

 

 

 

2008

 

 

11.4%

11.4%

 

 

 

 

 

Dominican Republic,

1996, 26% of adults were overweight. A further 12% of adults (13% urban, 10% rural) were obese.

 

Egypt

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1995

31.7%

 

20.1%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Estonia

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1987

23.9%

32.0%

6.0%

9.9%

 

 

 

 

2002

20.0%

31.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010

 

 

20.5%

16.0%

 

 

 

 

 

European Union average

2008, 15.5% of adults were obese

 

Finland

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1980

 

 

7.4%

7.4%

 

 

 

 

1990

 

 

8.4%

8.4%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

11.2%

11.2%

 

 

 

 

2002

52.0%

68.0%

 

 

13.0%

13.0%

 

 

2004

 

 

19.0%

19.0%

 

 

 

 

2006

 

 

14.3%

14.3%

 

 

 

 

 

France

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1982

16.3%

30.0%

5.3%

5.3%

5%

5%

 

 

1990

17.9%

30.9%

6%

6%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

9.2%

9.2%

 

 

 

 

2003

21.2%

34.8%

11.3%

11.3%

19%

19%

 

 

2005

 

 

11%

11%

19%

19%

12%

12%

2010

 

 

12.7%

11.7%

 

 

 

 

2012

 

 

15%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Germany

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1999

40%

56%

12.9%

12.9%

 

 

 

 

2002

49%

55%

 

 

 

 

 

 

2003

 

 

20%

18%

 

 

 

 

2004

41%

58%

19%

17%

 

 

 

 

2006

36%

36%

14%

14%

 

 

 

 

2010

 

 

15.6%

16.1%

 

 

 

 

 

Greece

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

2000

 

 

21.9%

21.9%

 

 

 

 

2002

 

 

 

 

31.0%

31.0%

 

 

2003

 

 

29.0%

29.0%

 

 

 

 

2006

 

 

21.9%

21.9%

 

 

 

 

2010

 

 

17.6%

17.6%

 

 

 

 

 

Guatemala

1995, 26% of adults were overweight. A further 8% of adults (13% urban, 5% rural) were obese.

 

Haiti

1995, 8.9% of adults were overweight. A further 2.6% of adults (4.8% urban, 1.4% rural) were obese.

 

Honduras,

1996, 24% of adults were overweight. 8% of adults (13% urban, 5% rural) were obese.

 

Hungary

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

2000

 

 

19.0%

19.0%

 

 

 

 

2002

38.0%

52.0%

 

 

18.0%

18.0%

 

 

2003

 

 

18.8%

18.8%

 

 

 

 

2006

 

 

21.0%

21.0%

 

 

 

 

2010

 

 

18.8%

21.4%

 

 

 

 

 

Iceland,

2005, 12.4% of adults were obese

2008, 20.1% of adults were obese

 

India, 2003, 7% of adults were obese. In 2006, The Independent, website 6/8/06, reported on an increasing obesity problem in India due to that country’s economic expansion. 76% of New Delhi women are ‘abdominally obese’ and in all Indian cities, 33% of 15 – 17 year olds are obese; meanwhile in 2004 children were still starving to death in rural West Bengal, and the World bank reports (2006) that 45% of Indian children are malnourished..

 

Indians may be at increased risk of obesity if the ‘thrifty gene’ theory is true and that an embryo who detects that their mother is thin switches on certain genes that predispose to weight gain, a good move in a food-scarce environment. Not such a good move when a country moves from poverty and starvation to prosperity and ample fast food within one generation. The fashion for India’s new industrial elite is to drink more alcohol, also Western fast food, almost unknown until recently, has a status value in India. These noveaux riche also get less exercise; they travel to work by car, and many grocery shops, and even furniture and jewellery outlets, will deliver right to their door*. The rich have their own drivers, they even have servants to walk the dog. In 40 degree heat and monsoonal humidity there is little incentive to walk anywhere, especially in Western as opposed to looser Indian clothing.

 

33 million Indians had diabetes in 2006, obesity being one of the main causes; this is a tenfold increase on 1971. One drastic remedy; stomach stapling, which would cost US$12,500 in New York but can be done in India for as little as US$ 3,000. Just cutting back sufficiently on food may not be an option for the grossly obese, whose stomachs are so large and bodies so big they cannot either exercise or eat less, without feeling unbearable hunger pangs.

 

*This reversal of the usual positive correlation between obesity and poverty is also seen in China.

 

Iran,

Iran still (2005) has problems of under nutrition, in some cases severe enough to retard the growth and normal weight gain associated with child/adolescent growth. However Iran also has an emerging obesity problem, particularly in its faster-growing urban population.  Obesity Reviews 6, 2005, pp.191-192, stated that in urban areas, 22% of people aged 15-39 and 40% of people aged 40-69 had body weights ‘over the 85th reference percentile’.  For rural areas of Iran the figures were 16% and 26% respectively.

2003, 20% of adults (10% of men and 30% of women) were obese.

 

Ireland

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1990

 

 

13.0%

8.0%

 

 

 

 

1998

25.0%

40.0%

9.0%

11.0%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

10.0%

10.0%

 

 

 

 

2003

50.0%

50.0%

14.0%

12.0%

 

 

10.0%

10.0%

2005

39.0%

39.0%

18.0%

18.0%

 

 

 

 

2006

34.0%

34.0%

14.0%

14.0%

 

 

 

 

2008

 

 

23.0%

23.0%

 

 

 

 

2011

 

 

21.0%

26.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Israel,

2001, of the adult population aged 25-64, 39.3% were obese and a further 22.9% were obese. Being overweight was more common amongst men than women; however obesity was more prevalent amongst women. The (poorer) Arab population was more obese than the (wealthier) Jewish population.

2002, 51% of women and 59% of men were overweight

2003, 18% of adults were obese.

 

Italy

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1994

 

 

7.0%

7.0%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

8.5%

8.5%

 

 

 

 

2003

34%

48%

10%

10%

36%

36%

29%

29%

2004

 

 

6%

6%

36%

36%

 

 

2006

32%

32%

10.2%

10.2%

 

 

 

 

2010

 

 

9.3%

11.3%

 

 

 

 

 

Japan

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1976

 

 

 

0.8%

 

 

 

 

1980

 

 

2.0%

2.0%

 

 

 

 

1990

 

 

2.3%

2.3%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

2.9%

2.9%

 

 

 

 

2005

23.0%

23.0%

3.9%

3.9%

 

 

 

 

2006

22.0%

22.0%

4.0%

4.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Jordan

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1995

 

 

59.8%

32.7%

 

 

 

 

 

Kazakhstan

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1995

21.8%

 

16.7%

 

 

 

 

 

2002

47.0%

33.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenya

2004, 12% of the population was overweight

 

Korea (South)

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1995

18.0

11.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

1998

24.1

23.7

3.1

1.8

 

 

 

 

2001

24.3

30.1

3.1

2.8

 

 

 

 

2005

 

 

3.5

3.5

 

 

 

 

(Obesity Reviews; 9, 2008, pp.104-107

 

2001, The average Body Mass Index of South Koreans rose from 22.5 in 1995 (23 male, 22 female) to 23.5 in 2001 (23.7 male, 23.4 female). For reasons of Koreans having a different physiological proportion of body fat to Europeans (see Obesity Review, 6, 2005, pp.117-121), ‘obesity’ amongst South Koreans may be defined as a BMI of 25, not 30.  On this basis (BMI=25), in 2001, 30.6% of South Korean adults were obese (32.4% male, 29.4% female).

 

Kuwait 

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1993

32.3%

35.2%

40.6%

32.3%

 

 

 

 

2003

 

 

37.0%

37.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Kyrgzystan

2002, 28% of women were overweight

 

Latvia

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1997

33.0%

41.0%

17.4%

9.5%

 

 

 

 

2002

41.0%

41.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010

 

 

20.9%

12.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Lithuania

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1997

32.7%

41.9%

18.3%

11.4%

 

 

 

 

2000

31.6%

45.6%

23.4%

16.9%

 

 

 

 

2002

41%

42%

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008

 

 

19.7%

19.7%

 

 

 

 

 

Luxembourg

2002, 18.4% of adults were obese

2006, 18.6% of adults were obese

2008, 20.0% of adults were obese

 

Malawi, 2003, 7% adults obese.

 

Malaysia

In 2002, 20.7% of adults were overweight and a further 5.8% were obese. 0.3% of the Malay adult population had a BMI of over 40.  Increasing affluence may have increased the dietary intake of fats and sugars, whilst reducing the amount of manual work being done.

 

Malta

2002, 35% of children overweight or obese

2003 over half of 10 year old girls over weight or obese. In 2003, 33% of ten year olds were obese.

2010, 21.1% of women and 24.7% of men were obese

 

Mexico

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1980

 

 

0.0%

0.0%

 

 

 

 

1988

33.0%

33.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

1992

37.0%

44.0%

25.0%

15.0%

 

 

 

 

1999

35.0%

 

24.0%

24.0%

 

 

 

 

2003

36.0%

41.0%

26.5%

17.0%

 

 

 

 

2006

38.0%

38.0%

30.0%

30.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Mexico’s diabetes, heart disease, and cancer rates have soared. In 1968 diabetes was the 35th cause of mortality in Mexico; in 2004 it was the 1st cause of mortality. In 2004 Mexico had 6.5 million people with diabetes, out of a total population of 104 million.

 

Obesity was almost non-existent in Mexico in 1980.  However there was hunger; the country’s rapid transition, over a few decades, to a more prosperous economy has impacted on babies who grew up under-nourished in the 1960s and 70s.  As described on this website here (see 1.1.b), In utero environment), unborn children who detect an environment where food is scarce adapt their metabolism to store food more effectively.  This means they are more prone to store fat, i.e. become obese, if in later years the environment turns out to ba calorie-rich.

 

In 2013 Mexico’s Congress approved a ‘fat tax’; a levy of 8% on ‘junk food’ and 1 peso (4p) on a litre of soft fizzy drinks.

 

Morocco

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1984

18.7%

18.7%

6.4%

1.6%

 

 

 

 

1992

22.3%

 

10.5%

 

 

 

 

 

2000

33.0%

28.0%

18.3%

5.7%

 

 

 

 

2003

 

 

12%

12%

 

 

 

 

2004

40%

40%

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013

 

 

32.8%

32.8%

 

 

 

 

Obesity rates 1984/5 were average 4.1% for all adults; 5.5% in the urban population and 2.6% in the rural population.

Obesity rates 1998/9 were average 10.3% fir all adults; 12.2% in the urban population and 7.4% in the rural population.

Obesity rates, 2000 were average 13.3% of all people aged over 20.

Obesity varied geographically, (2000), from 10% in the north-west of the country to 49% in the (poorer) south.  Laayoune Province in the south had obesity rates for all adults of 75%.  Obesity rates also rose with age.

 

Namibia, 2003, 5% adults obese.

 

Nauru

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1987

 

 

70.0%

65.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Netherlands

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1981

30%

37%

6%

4%

 

 

 

 

1991

 

 

7%

5%

 

 

 

 

2000

45%

55%

7.5%

7.5%

 

 

 

 

2004

42%

51%

12.0%

10.0%

19.5%

13%

4.5%

3%

2006

 

 

11.3%

11.3%

 

 

 

 

2008

 

 

11.1%

11.1%

 

 

 

 

 

New Zealand

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1990

 

 

11.0%

11.0%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

15.0%

19.5%

 

 

 

 

2007

 

 

26.5%

26.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norway

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1998

 

 

6.0%

6.0%

 

 

 

 

2002

41.0%

63.0%

8.3%

8.3%

21.0%

21.0%

 

 

2005

 

 

9.0%

9.0%

 

 

 

 

2008

 

 

10.0%

10.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Panama

2003, 37% of adults are obese.

 

Papua New Guinea

Obesity (1987) was high in urban areas; 54% for women and 36% for men.  However in the rural highland areas it was around 5% for both sexes.

 

Paraguay

1992, 39% of adults (42% of men and 36% of women) were overweight. A further 29% of adults (23% of men and 36% of women) were obese.

2003, 30% of adults are obese.

 

Peru

1996, 41% of adults (42% of men and 40% of women) were overweight. A further 12% of adults (7% of men and 16% of women) were obese.

Peru’s regional obesity figures (1996) were:-

Coastal, 11% men, 23% women

Mountain, 5% men and 9% women

Amazon forest (mainly Indian ethnic), 1% men and 9% women

Lima urban, 12% men and 25% men

2003, 32% of adults were obese.

 

Philippines, 2003, 3% of adults obese.

 

Poland,

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1993

 

 

8.9%

6.3%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

11.4%

11.4%

 

 

 

 

2003

 

 

15%

6.5%

6%

6%

6%

4%

2004

 

 

12.5%

12.5%

 

 

 

 

2010

 

 

15.8%

17.3%

 

 

 

 

Obesity is more prevalent in the eastern (poorer) regions of Poland.

 

Portugal

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1996

31%

41%

15%

13%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

11%

11%

 

 

 

 

2004

39%

39%

14%

14%

 

 

 

 

2005

 

 

12.9%

12.9%

 

 

 

 

2008

 

 

15.4%

15.4%

 

 

 

 

 

Romania

2002, 59% of women and 60% of men were overweight

2010, 8.0% of women and 7.6% of men were obese

 

Russia

2002, 52% of women and 42% of men were overweight

2003, 18% of adults (10% men, 25% women) obese, and 6% of children were overweight. 

2004, 11% men and 27% women were obese.

 

Samoa

Obesity (1991) was high in urban areas; 77% for women and 58% for men.  It was also relatively high in rural areas; 59% for women and 42% for men

 

Saudi Arabia

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1996

27.0%

29.0%

24.0%

16.0%

 

 

 

 

2003

 

 

20.0%

13.0%

 

 

 

 

2006

31.8%

42.4%

44.0%

26.4%

 

 

 

 

 

Serbia, formerly Yugoslavia

2002, 16% of children were overweight or obese

2003 40% of women and 35% of men were obese

 

Slovakia

2000, 22.4% of adults were obese

2002, 43% of women and 67% of men were overweight.  10% of children were overweight or obese

2005, 17.6% of adults were obese

2010, 15.7% of women and 14.5% of men were obese

 

Slovenia

2010, 16.3% of women and 17.3% of men were obese

 

South Africa

In South Africa a rapid shift towards a western-style diet with much ‘junk food’ and burgers has colluded with a culture where visible excess weight can be seen as indicating health and wealth, to produce a rapid rise in obesity levels towards USA levels. “In parts of South Africa the density of fast food outlets is almost as high as California”, said Tessa Van Der Merwe, the chair of the South African society for the Study of Obesity (Guardian, 3/11/2004, p.16).

AIDS - An additional factor is that being underweight may be associated with being HIV positive, the disease is actually called ‘slim’ in parts of Africa. Especially, rapid weight loss is associated with AIDS.

Even before AIDS, being overweight, especially amongst Black women, was seen as a sign of prosperity and of being well cared for by the husband.

It is feared that between 2004 and 2025, Type-II diabetes may double amongst Black South Africans.

Racial breakdown of overweight / obese people in South Africa, 2005

BLACK

Overweight – Women, 43%.  Men, 41%.

Obesity - Women, 32%.  Men, 8%

COLOURED

Overweight – Women, 39%.  Men, 39%.

Obesity - Women, 27%.  Men 7%.

INDIAN

Overweight – Women, 16%.  Men, 30%.

Obesity - Women, 21%.  Men, 6%.

WHITE

Overweight – Women, 21%.  Men, 39%.

Obesity - Women, 21%.  Men, 17%

1998, 57% of women and 29% of men were obese or overweight

2003, 19% adults (9% men, 29% women) obese

 

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1980

57.0%

 

24.0%

 

 

 

 

 

2003

 

 

 

 

25.0%

6.9%

5.3%

2.2%

2010

73.0%

62.0%

43.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spain

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1987

 

 

7.7%

7.7%

 

 

 

 

1997

 

 

12.9%

12.9%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

15.8%

13.4%

 

 

 

 

2003

 

 

13%

13%

27%

27%

 

 

2004

 

 

15%

11%

 

 

14%

14%

2006

35%

35%

14%

14%

 

 

 

 

2010

56%

56%

14.4%

17.0%

27%

27%

 

 

 

Geography and obesity

 

Obesity tended to be higher in the southern provinces of Spain (Obesity Review, 5, 2004, pp.171-2). 16.9% of adults in the southernmost province, Andalucia, were obese, and the three neighbouring provinces all scored between 13.8% and 15% obesity rates. The Madrid region scored 11.9% obesity, as did most of Spain’s north-west regions, excepting the northern Atlantic-coastal regions, where rates were again around 14-16%.  Cataluna province in the far north east scored 10.8% obesity; the lowest rate was Navarra in the north, with 7.5% obesity. There is a negative correlation between regional GDP and obesity rates; the poorer are more obese.

 

Income, gender, and obesity

 

In Spain, obesity declines with higher income deciles (Costa-Font et al, Food Policy, Vol.33, 2007, pp.61-73).  Amongst women, 24% of the lowest income decile were obese against just 6% in the highest decile.  However the income variation amongst men was far less marked.  Between 13% and 15% of men in all seven lowest deciles were obese, and this only declined to a 10% obesity rate in the highest decile. 

 

South Korea, see Korea, South

 

Sweden

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1985

 

 

5%

5%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

8%

8%

 

 

 

 

2005

16.7%

16.7%

10.7%

10.7%

 

 

 

 

2008

 

 

10.2%

10.2%

 

 

 

 

 

Switzerland

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1992

 

 

5.3%

5.3%

 

 

 

 

1997

 

 

6.8%

6.8%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

7.0%

7.0%

 

 

 

 

2002

22.0%

39.0%

7.7%

7.7%

 

 

 

 

2003

 

 

 

 

24.0%

24.0%

 

 

2008

 

 

8.1%

8.1%

 

 

 

 

 

Taiwan

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1994

 

 

13.2%

10.5%

 

 

 

 

1995

20%

20%

13.2%

10.5%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

15.9%

10.7%

 

 

 

 

2002

 

 

 

 

14.4%

15.5%

9.1%

14.7%

2005

20%

30%

17.0%

17.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand, 2003, 4% of adults were obese.

 

Tunisia

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1997

28.2%

23.3%

22.7%

6.7%

 

 

 

 

 

Turkey,

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1990

31.7%

 

18.6%

18.6%

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

21.9%

21.9%

 

 

 

 

2008

 

 

15.2%

15.2%

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Arab Emirates

1999, 7.8% of children were overweight, and a further 13.7% were obese.  Girls were slightly more prone to be overweight than boys, non UAE citizens more overweight than UAE  citizens, and urban children were more prone to be overweight than rural.

 

Uruguay,

1999, 34% of adults were overweight and a further 17% were obese.

 

USA

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1961

24.5%

38.5%

15.5%

10.7%

 

 

4%

4%

1972

24.3%

42.5%

16.8%

12.2%

 

 

 

 

1980

24.9%

40.1%

17.1 %

12.8%

 

 

5%

5%

1990

25.2%

40.4%

25.9%

20.6%

 

 

 

 

2000

27.7%

40.7%

34.0%

28.0%

 

 

14%

14%

2005

26.4%

39.7%

36.2%

33.3%

 

 

16%

16%

2010

 

 

35.8%

35.5%

15%

15%

17%

17%

2013

 

 

35.0%

35.0%

 

 

 

 

 

Geography and obesity

 

The rural mid-west states have the lowest obesity levels, and the more urbanised states on the east and west coasts of the US, and along the Mississippi Valley, have higher levels.

 

2006 West Virginia is one of the worst-affected states for obesity.  According to The Guardian, 4/6/05, a quarter of the state’s children are obese, as are some 27% - 35% of adults.  Obesity there has doubled between 1990 and 2005. 10% of West Virginians suffer from diabetes, 33% have high blood pressure, and 28% reported doing no physical exercise over a period of one month.  Other badly affected states are Alabama and Mississippi.  It is no coincidence that these are also the poorest states in the USA, with high smoking and cancer rates.  These states have high unemployment, a consequence of their one-time reliance on coal mining.

2007 Mississippi ranks the worst for obesity, with 31.6% of its adult population obese West Virginia, the former fattest state is now second at 30.6%, and Alabama is third fattest at 30.1%.  Every state bordering Mississippi has over 29% adult obesity.  Skinny Americans live in the mid-west, with Colorado the thinnest state at 18.4% adult population obese.  Another skinny pocket is up in the far north-east, around Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

 

Educational level and obesity

 

In common with the geographical factors mentioned above, obesity is strongly (negatively) correlated with highest educational level attained (D Milijkovok et al, Food Policy 2008, Vol.33, pp.48-60).  However the least obese (best educated) groups have seen the largest increases in obesity since 1991.  In 1991, 16.5% of those attaining ‘less than High School’ were obese, as against 8.0% of ‘College’.  In 2001, the obesity prevalence for these groups was 27.4% and 15.7% respectively (p.50 ibid)

 

Uzbekistan

2002, 21% of women were overweight

year

Overweight women

Overweight men

Obese women

Obese men

Overweight girls

Overweight boys

Obese girls

Obese boys

1996

16.3%

 

5.4%

 

 

 

 

 

2003

21.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yugoslavia, see Serbia

 

Sources

A large proportion of this data has been sourced from a) Obesity Reviews Journal (various dates) and b) ‘Obesity Prevention and Public Health’, ed D Crawford & RW Jeffery, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.  Orher sources have also contributed.