Obesity in Asia

The continent with one of the most obese and also the least obese countries in the world.

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Obesity map of Asia

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We’ve looked at obesity in Europe and the United States before, this time we’re going to look at Asia.

When it comes to obesity, Asia occupies both of the extremes. 8 Asian countries rank in the global bottom 10, with Vietnam being the least obese country in the world. The top 10 most obese countries is completely made up of countries in Oceania. The global top 20 has 7 Asian countries in it. Kuwait is the global no. 11 and the most obese country outside of Oceania.

Interestingly, we can see a very clear geographical pattern on this map. The majority of the Middle Eastern countries have a much higher obesity rate than the rest of Asia. Turkey, which is the most obese country in Europe, is also one of the most obese in Asia. But it’s not the most obese, that is Kuwait, where 37.9% of the population is obese. Jordan comes in second, with 35.5% of its population being obese. Saudi Arabia is third, with 35.4%. All the other countries in the Middle East have an obesity rate of at least 25%, with the exception of Yemen and the Caucasus.

Next, we see a cluster of countries with an obesity rate between 10 and 25 percent. These are countries in Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, Yemen, Malaysia and Brunei. Almost all of east, south east and south Asia, has an obesity rate below 10%.

The lowest obesity rates can be found in Timor-Leste (3.8%), Bangladesh (3.6%) and Vietnam (2.1%). Also interesting is the obesity rate in Japan and South Korea, both below 5%. Obesity is often linked to wealthier countries, but these 2 wealthy countries really stand out. Most likely it’s because of their healthy local cuisine and eating habits.


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