The Global Post lists the world's top ten fattest countries, as measured by the percentage of the population with a BMI index of more than 25. Most are island nations, but the United States is also on the list.
- Nauru: 95 percent of the population
Nauruans historically engaged in fattening ceremonies, where young women were kept inside and fed to excess. That legacy, plus the more recent transition to Western-style meals, has been devastating.
- Micronesia, 3. the Cook Islands and 4. Tonga: All three of these island nations weigh in at a 92 percent overweight population.
- Niue: 84 percent
- Samoa: 83 percent
- Palau: 81 percent
- United States: 79 percent
- Kiribati: 77 percent
- Dominica: 76 percent
Other overweight nations include Kuwait and Argentina (75 percent), Mexico (73 percent), Australia (71 percent), Egypt and Greece (70 percent), Belarus (67 percent) and the United Kingdom (66 percent).
The 10 fattest countries in the world share several common bonds. They've seen increases in urban environments and significant reductions in strenuous labor, meaning the populations are more sedentary than ever.
Plus, they're quickly adopting Westernized diets full of soda, potato chips and other junk foods in lieu of their more nutritious traditional fare.
As a result, many of the world's island nations now have staggeringly high rates of overweight adults, reaching upwards of 80-95 percent of their populations.
And the United States, which ranks eighth out of the top 10 fattest countries, does not fare much better. Seventy-nine percent of the population is now overweight, as measured by a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25.
Obesity and Overweight Rates Keep Rising
Obesity is now a worldwide problem. Dubbed "globesity," the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2015 there will be more than 2 billion overweight and 700 million obese adults worldwide.
The problem, aside from the wide prevalence already, is that the trend is showing no sign of stopping, which will have disastrous health effects on a worldwide scale.
A number of studies have demonstrated links between obesity and a whole host of serious medical conditions, such as:
|Depression||Gastro esophageal reflux||Sleep apnea|
|Kidney disease||High blood pressure||Diabetes|
|High cholesterol||Coronary artery disease||Heart failure|
|Atrial fibrillation||Pulmonary hypertension||Stroke|
|Blood clots||Dementia||Numerous cancers|
Other statistics on the danger of obesity includes:
- People who are moderately obese live two to five years less than people that have ideal weight.
- The lifespan of those who are severely obese might be reduced by five to 10 years.
- The biggest threat of obesity is heart disease, which is now the number one cause of death in the US.
Insulin resistance is also the underlying factor in a large number of diseases, and one of the signs that you're a prime candidate for developing insulin resistance is obesity.
If you're obese, it's virtually guaranteed that you're also insulin resistant, and this is directly linked to increased inflammation in your body. Chronic inflammation is the hallmark of high cholesterol, heart disease, and many other chronic health conditions.
It's quite clear that controlling your insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to optimize your health and is also the most potent anti-aging strategy at your disposal, and to do this you need to make changes to your diet and exercise programs … changes that will also typically cause you to lose weight.
A Major Cause of Obesity You Need to be Aware Of
There are a multitude of reasons for the dramatic rise in obesity since the 1970's, including:
- Increased consumption of highly processed food, especially fructose
- Increased portion sizes of restaurant food and grocery products
- Increased driving and computer use (sedentary activities)
- Increased modernization and less physical activity
- Lack of sleep
- Certain medications
- Endocrine disorders, changes in gut bacteria and genetics
- Changing social perceptions of what is "normal" weight
All of these factors are possible contributors, but on a cultural scale it is the ingestion of fructose that is the primary variable contributing to the obesity epidemic.
This may sound overly simplistic, but I have studied this carefully for many years, and after evaluating many thousands of pages of documents I agree with the growing number of experts who have identified fructose as the most significant dietary factor that directly causes obesity, along with hypertension, diabetes, and a number of other related health problems.
In a recent article featuring an interview with Dr. Richard Johnson, I discussed compelling new evidence that links fructose consumption with increased uric acid levels, which is intricately linked to obesity and associated health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.
I strongly advise you to read that article and listen to the interview to get a more in-depth understanding of the fructose/uric acid connection and how fructose wreaks havoc on your health -- and your waistline.
Thanks to Dr. Johnson's research, we now know that fructose generates uric acid within minutes of ingestion. High levels of uric acid are normally associated with gout, but it has been long known that people with high blood pressure and kidney disease, and people who are overweight, often have elevated uric acid levels as well.
It was thought this increased uric acid resulted from the disease, but it appears now that it may have been CAUSING it!
If You're Overweight, Get Your Uric Acid Levels Checked
When your uric acid level exceeds about 5.5 mg per dl, you have an increased risk for a host of diseases, including hypertension, kidney disease, diabetes, and fatty liver, along with obesity.
Dr. Johnson suggests that the ideal uric acid level is probably around 4 mg/dl for men and 3.5 mg/dl for women. Most people who are overweight likely have uric acid levels well above 5.5. Some may even be closer to 10 or above.
So I would STRONGLY encourage everyone to have their uric acid level checked to find out how sensitive you are to fructose. The higher your uric acid, the more you need to limit or even avoid fructose -- including in fruits -- until your uric acid level normalizes.
The key step to optimize your uric acid levels if they are too high is the same as for optimizing your insulin levels, which is to drastically reduce or completely eliminate fructose and other sugars from your diet.
A Weight Loss Plan You Can Live With
It may seem like the cards are stacked against you when it comes to losing weight, but in reality virtually anyone can get back to their ideal weight when given the proper knowledge and tools of how to do so.
This is true even if you have a family history of obesity, as lifestyle changes can actually override any "fat genes" you may possess.
In the vast majority of cases, obesity is a direct result of poor dietary choices, especially consuming too much sugar and fructose, and a lack of exercise.
When you start paying close attention to what you're eating along with getting lots of physical activity, drastic beneficial changes often take place. So your first steps, if you're interested in driving down your insulin and uric acid levels and losing weight, should be to follow these four tenets of long-term optimal health and weight:
- Eat a healthy diet that's right for your nutritional type, paying very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down, primarily by avoiding fructose as much as possible
- Exercise. It is particularly important that you integrate the newer Peak Fitness Techniques into your program for weight loss.
- Get plenty of sleep
- Manage your stress
If you live in the Chicago area and would like some extra support and guidance in weight loss, you can visit my Natural Health Center. Those of you in other areas who need weight loss support can look for a holistic health care practitioner who specializes in weight loss in your area, as well as join in the Mercola.com Natural Health Community where you can share your weight loss challenges and successes with like-minded people.
No matter how many pounds you need to lose, today can be the first day on your journey back to your ideal weight. With each healthy change you make, and each milestone you reach, you'll feel better, increase your energy and likely gain new found confidence in yourself, both inside and out.