For many years the United States held the not-so-coveted title of most obese country in the Americas. That designation has recently transferred to Mexico, according to the The State of Food and Agriculture report released by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

The report—published in 2013—includes body mass index data gathered in 2008 from persons aged 20 and older. The data showed Mexico with a 32.8% rate of obesity among its population, edging ahead of the U.S. by 1%. Adults are considered obese if their BMI is equal to or greater than 30.

However, Mexico and the U.S. are not the most obese countries in the world, says the report. African nations Egypt and South Africa measure in at 34.6% and 33.5%, respectively; Kuwait (42.8%) and Saudi Arabia (35.2%) claim the top spots in Western Asia; and smaller nations like Nauru (71.1%), Cook Islands (64.1%) and Palau (50.7%) take first, second and third places for most-obese country worldwide.

The aim of The State of Food and Agriculture report is to support increased focus on food and agriculture systems. “Food systems must ensure that all people have access to a diverse range of nutritious foods and to the knowledge and information they need to make healthy choices,” explained FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva in the foreword to the report. “This report identifies a number of specific actions that can be taken to improve the contribution of food systems to better nutrition.

To read the report in its entirety, visit

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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