Is Mexico the fattest country? That’s what some observers are saying after a report released last month by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) which stated that Mexico’s 32.8 percent adult obesity rate had now edged out the United States’ 31.8 percent rate.
It’s a bit of an exaggeration, of course. Mexico’s rate can’t come close to the adult obesity rate being seen in some Pacific island nations.
Tonga’s adult obesity rate is almost 60 percent, while the Cook Islands’ rate is over 64 percent.
But the winner is the tiny nation of Nauru, which reports a stunning adult obesity rate of 71 percent.
However, if you eliminate that group of island nations, where there is a strong genetic component that contributes to the adult obesity rate, it does appear that Mexico has taken the title of world’s fattest country away from the United States.
An indepth Global Post report put the blame on poverty and bad diet, saying that the high cost of fresh or low-fat foods had encouraged Mexicans to consume what they call Vitamin T — tacos, tamales, and tostadas.
There has been some debate about the science behind the statistics of which state or country gets called the fattest. In April, a team from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) challenged a 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which named Mississippi the fattest state with a stunning adult obesity rate of nearly 35 percent.
The CDC also said that the south was the fattest region in the United States, with overall adult obesity rates at around 29.5 percent.
However, the UAB said the CDC’s numbers were wrong because they relied on self-reporting about weight. In their study, they found that everybody lies about their weight — but southerners lie the least, causing them to report higher weights than people from other regions.
But even if the FAO statistics turn out to be a little shaky, there’s no question that people in Mexico are gaining weight.
Whether or not you believe Mexico is the world’s fattest country, it’s certainly in the top ranking.
[image by pointnshoot via Shutterstock]