Pacific neighbours lead fattest nation stakes

Photo / APN
Photo / APN

New Zealand has been ranked as among the fattest nations in the world, but our Pacific neighbours are faring far worse on the scales.

Micronesia and Tonga are at the top of the league table of 177 nations, followed by the US where the average adult weight is 82.1kg, according to the ranking by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

New Zealand was ranked 29th, with an average adult weighing 71.78kg. Australia was ranked the sixth fattest, with an average of 77.52kg. Both New Zealand and Australia are well over the world adult average of 62kg.

Using data from the United Nations and World Health Organisation, researchers estimated that the adult human population of the world weighs 287 million tonnes - 15 million of which is due to the overweight and 3.5 million due to obesity.

And while the US makes up only 5 per cent of the world's population, it accounts for almost a third of the world's weight due to obesity.

In comparison, Asia has 61 per cent of the world's people but only 13 per cent of the world's weight.

While the average weights may appear low, researchers say that data used was incomplete and calculations used complex methodology. The study was based on 2005 data and is an underestimate of today's situation. However, the league table is similar to previous studies on the fattest nations.

The study was published in the journal BMC Public Health and launched at the UN conference Rio+20.

Researchers said the survey shows that obesity as well as population levels put a strain on the environment.

Lead researcher Professor Ian Roberts said: "Everyone accepts that population growth threatens global environmental sustainability - our study shows that population fatness is also a major threat.

"Unless we tackle both population and fatness our chances are slim."

The study stated that increasing fatness could have the same implications for world food energy demands as an extra half a billion people.

- Staff reporter


1. Micronesia: 87.58kg

2. Tonga: 87.53kg

3. United States: 82.1kg

4. Samoa: 78.71kg

5. Kuwait: 77.95kg

6. Australia: 77.52kg

7. Malta: 77.12kg

8. Qatar: 77.03kg

9. Croatia: 76.57kg

10. UK: 75.95kg

29. New Zealand: 71.78kg

177. Bangladesh: 49.7kg

Outline report at

- NZ Herald

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