America Is No Longer the Most Obese Country in the World

Bad news, patriots: According to a new UN study, America is no longer the most obese country among more populous nations. That honor, which, according to another study, Americans held as recently as March, now belongs to Mexico.

Roughly 70 percent of Mexicans are overweight and almost one-third are obese. Nearly a third of Mexican teenagers are also obese, a number that has tripled in the last decade alone. The vast majority of those teenagers will remain overweight for their entire lives, the study said, which could lead to weight-related health issues such as diabetes. As many as 70,000 people in Mexico die each year from diabetes, a number "roughly equal to the deaths authorities say are caused by more than six years of the country's gangland wars."

"The same people who are malnourished are the ones who are becoming obese," said physician Abelardo Avila with Mexico's National Nutrition Institute. "In the poor classes we have obese parents and malnourished children. The worst thing is the children are becoming programmed for obesity. It's a very serious epidemic."

But don't worry: America is ranked right behind Mexico, with 31.8 percent of its population classified as obese, followed by New Zealand (26.5%), Chile (25.1%) and Australia (24.6%).

This post has been updated to clarify that Mexico has the highest rates of obesity among more populous countries. According to the study, Nauru, a small island in the South Pacific, has an obesity rate of 71.1%, the highest of any country.

[FAO/Image via Getty]

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