Obesity

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No matter how you tip the scales, Americans are getter wider every year. What's worse is that many nations are following suit. In a list of the countries with the greatest percentage of overweight people, Nauru tops a list of countries with the greatest percentage of overweight people, with an alarming 94.5% of its adult population (ages 15+) classified as such, based on the most recent estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands, Niue and Tonga round out the top five, all with a portly population of over 90%. The U.S. weighs in at No. 9, with 74.1% of those over 15 years old considered overweight. But given that its population is nearly 20,000 times that of Nauru, clearly the U.S.’s size belies it rank. In Pictures: World's Fattest Countries

Complete List: World's Fattest Countries
Experts say it is not surprising that people across the globe are increasingly becoming overweight. They blame urbanization and the influx of Western ways of life including myriad fast food choices, little exercise and stressful jobs. "Due to urbanization, more people are living in more dense environments, in cities where they are removed from traditional food sources and dependent on an industrial food supply," says Neville Rigby, director of policy and public affairs for the International Association for the Study of Obesity. Modernization is causing countries with small populations and few resources to depend on imported, often over-processed food. "The Western diet overwhelms, and many people are not genetically engineered to cope with this," says Rigby. Countries Transformed

This change in lifestyle is most evident in the South Pacific. On the list of "fattest" countries, eight of the top 10 are in the Pacific region. In the last 50 years this area has established significant economic ties with the U.S. and New Zealand, which caused a surge in Western imports and a significant change in diet. Studies conducted by the...
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