nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weighing In At #8 (Pun Intended) On The Fattest Country List

For those who enjoy this sort of thing the Global Post (Health Beat, Nov 22) has published an article that ranks fattest countries around the world based on data from the World Health Organization.I like to call these things "Nature Notes", a way to identify bits of information that are entertaining… but basically useless.

For those who think that the United States is the world's fattest country, you're mistaken. We are actually number eight on the list: 79% of us are overweight. It's important to recognize, though, that these data put everyone with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more in the overweight category. For those of us you are about 20 pounds over our ideal weight—many of us--we're in that 79%. It's not until you reach a BMI of 30 that a person is classified obese.  For the average-sized person, this is somewhere in the 35-40 pounds over ideal range.

The fattest country in the world is one I've never heard of: Nauru, which is a tiny South Pacific island where 95% of the people are overweight. This seems to be related to a cultural preference for, let's call it "opulence."

By comparison the United Kingdom is 66% overweight, which is a doubling since 1980.

Of interest--in reviewing the overall list--those countries which have experienced a rise in prosperity over the last quarter-century are making it into the top 10-20 list. Countries in the Caribbean are notable in this respect. For instance, Domenica, a poor country with a population that was traditionally malnourished and starving, has improved it’s economy and quickly moved to the #10 position, at 76% overweight.

This is a pattern seen not only in the Caribbean but also in South America and some of the oil-rich countries of the Middle East. Kuwait, for instance, "weighs in" at 75%.

The formula seems clear:  prosperity leads to obesity.

See the list below of the top 10 countries. A quick Glance shows that eight of them are small Pacific Islands.

The Top Ten:

1) Nauru: 95 percent
2) Micronesia: 92 percent
3) The Cook Islands: 92 percent
4) Tonga: 92 percent
5) Niue: 84 percent
6) Samoa: 83 percent
7) Palau: 81 percent
8) United States: 79 percent
9) Kiribati: 77 percent.
10) Dominica: 76 percent

Not very impressive, is it? However, I would like to see the breakout; what percent of the 79% are in the “overweight” category and what percent in the “obese” category?

I would be very happy for the US if the great majority were in that 25-30 BMI range. But I’m not optimistic.

Doc D

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