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Countries with the Lowest Obesity Rate

Can you name the countries of the world where the lowest % of adults have a Body Mass Index of 30 or greater?
2016 WHO estimates. Complete list here.
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: December 14, 2019
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First submittedJanuary 14, 2018
Times taken25,592
Average score52.4%
Rating4.36
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%
Country
2.1
Vietnam
3.6
Bangladesh
3.8
East Timor
3.9
India
3.9
Cambodia
4.1
Nepal
4.3
Japan
%
Country
4.5
Ethiopia
4.7
South Korea
5.0
Eritrea
5.2
Sri Lanka
5.3
Uganda
5.3
Madagascar
5.3
Laos
%
Country
5.4
Burundi
5.5
Niger
5.5
Afghanistan
5.6
Burkina Faso
5.8
Rwanda
5.8
Myanmar
5.8
Malawi
+20
Level 83
Jan 14, 2018
North Korea has higher obesity than South Korea?
+92
Level 73
Jan 15, 2018
Long live Kim! For he has granted the North Korean people with bountiful food, while the South Koreans starve!
+124
Level 56
Mar 7, 2018
Kim Jong-Un IS the obesity rate of North Korea.
+3
Level 47
Mar 7, 2018
Haha that was good! But seriously, that was a bit confusing. North Korea was one of my first guesses.
+1
Level 67
Oct 12, 2020
Let us all increase the production of millet!
+5
Level 74
Oct 12, 2020
I'm surprised to see any such data from North Korea at all, tbh.
+2
Level 46
Oct 12, 2020
I would think that there wouldn't be any data for North Korea.
+3
Level 32
Jun 11, 2022
Yeah, they are communist.
+3
Level 71
Dec 3, 2022
the more appropriate term here would be "totalitarian" or "authoritarian".

Countries like Nepal have communist parties in charge but still give out stats unimpeded while non-communist dictatorships like Turkmenistan struggles to do so.

idk if NK can be called communist anyways.. heck communist manifesto and das kapital are banned there

+10
Level 60
Jan 14, 2018
Seems like all countries where people just don't have enough to eat. Cannot be overweight if you can't buy food
+42
Level 72
Jan 15, 2018
Like Japan?
+8
Level 73
Jan 16, 2018
Actually, more of them eat fish and haven't been overly westernized with fast food
+5
Level 39
Feb 19, 2018
That is slowly changing. Younger generations are eating more fast food. Japan has the fattest fast food I've seen. Worse than American food, haha.
+7
Level 67
Mar 8, 2018
^ Also, the Japanese don't typically view fast food as meals but rather snacks. This isn't the mentality of much of the west.
+3
Level 58
Oct 12, 2020
You can see the difference in South Korea. Older generations are shorter and thinner. High school students are getting taller and fatter, and have more acne. They are eating more western-style fast food.
+3
Level 84
Oct 13, 2020
I think this used to be called the Skinniest Countries quiz but they changed the name to be less depressing as impoverished African countries were overrepresented. I think QM may have changed the criteria, too, perhaps from lowest average BMI to lowest % of obese adults?

Anyway, the above countries show up due to a combination of common body types, genetics, diet, and, in several but not all of these places, malnutrition.

+3
Level 62
Jan 15, 2018
What about Venezuela? Do we not have accurate current data for them due to the political unrest? They implemented socialism a few years ago and now the entire country is starving -- I believe even moreso than most of the countries on this list.
+11
Level 74
Mar 7, 2018
Yup, the decline in their fortunes had nothing to do with the price of oil.
+13
Level 84
Oct 12, 2020
It certainly had more to do with oil prices than "socialism"... but it also had a lot to do with bad government, corruption, poor management of resources, and a very undiversified economy which is a common problem in countries with authoritarian governments and planned economies. Russia, the USA, Canada, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the UAE didn't descend into anarchy, and they all have petroleum industries as big as Venezuela's.
+1
Level 73
Jan 15, 2018
Actually quite surprised/happy to not see the entire list dominated by Africa. Vietnam as #1 was unexpected too.
+12
Level 84
Mar 7, 2018
Didn't realize there were so many fatties in Somalia.
+8
Level 65
Mar 7, 2018
Actually obesity is correlated to malnutrition in general, not only over nutrition (eating too much). If you dont eat enough, and not diversified enough, you might be as obese as much as if you binge fast food everyday.

Thats why a lot of starving countries (somalia, south sudan, mali...) are not represented in this quiz. On the other hands, rather wealthy countries that have a culinary tradition f diversified and healthy food (in Asia for instance) dont have any obesity. But that is changing really fast due to the implementation of fast/sweet food from the West. In Cambodia the rate of obesity has doubled in 20 years, due to the processed foods.

+2
Level 50
Nov 29, 2022
Calories are calories
+2
Level 58
Mar 7, 2018
Damn Japan and South Korea! U guys need to go out for pizza and beer way more often
+5
Level 40
Mar 8, 2018
How come India is on the list...I'm an Indian and I generally see fat people here...might be because of the large population the percentage is low.
+2
Level 4
Apr 10, 2018
i thought that most of the countreis would be from africa but asia has the most number its actually good to be slim rather than being fit
+9
Level 68
Oct 12, 2020
Can't believe Hungary isn't on here
+6
Level 69
Oct 12, 2020
That was during communism. There are now talks to rename the country to 'Full'.
+1
Level 55
Nov 30, 2022
I think 'Sated' would be more plausible.
+1
Level 66
Oct 12, 2020
Got Burkina Faso, missed Japan 🤷‍♀️
+2
Level 74
Oct 14, 2020
This was a very unsatisfying quiz for me. Very quickly turned into just typing as many countries as I could in the allotted time.
+1
Level 61
Oct 18, 2020
I can't believe my country is in the first place.
+2
Level 50
Nov 29, 2022
Does anyone know what explains the trend for SEA?

I'd guess poverty, but then why wouldn't all the subsaharan African countries precede them? Maybe Africa gets more food welfare? India and Bangladesh seem surprising, given they're so populous. I assume Oceania gets omitted due to a sedentary lifestyle of being tied to a small location.

Maybe it's a religious thing? But AFAIK SEA is pretty diverse in that regard (Japan, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia - Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist)

From the videos I've seen of Africa, I assume the women get fat, while the men stay relatively lean by staying physically active?

+2
Level 84
Dec 1, 2022
SEA people are mostly very thin. I think it's a combination of genetics and common body types there, and diet (lots of rice and fish and vegetables.. not a lot of processed food), plus culture. It could have a little to do with poverty but.... I don't think so. I've spent a lot of time in SE Asia and most of the people there even the very poor ones are not starving. It's not like North Korea or parts of Africa.

I wouldn't be too surprised to see the countries remaining on the list moving down or dropping off in coming decades, though, as diet and lifestyle continues to change. The proliferation of cars in Vietnam over the past 15 years, for instance, has been astonishing. I think that Thailand and the Philippines might show up on this list, too, except that American fast food chains have been in those places longer and gotten more popular than they have so far in Vietnam or Cambodia.