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Scientists Warn of a 'Tsunami of Obesity'

A scene from Wall-E.
A scene from Wall-E.

Researchers who studied cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index data from 1980 to 2008 have discovered that pretty much everyone on the planet is overweight, and we're only getting fatter. Calling the phenomenon a "tsunami of obesity," the study showed that 9.8% of men and 13.8% of women worldwide were obese in 2008, as opposed to 4.8% of men and 7.9% of women in 1980.

The study showed that the world's fattest country is the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru, where the average Body Mass Index is 34 to 35 (a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9) and "the most popular dish is fried chicken and cola." The US experienced the study's fastest rise in average BMI, gaining 1kg per decade. Way to go, America.

There is some good news! Italians are losing weight: their average BMI dropped from 25.2 to 24.8. Which is in the healthy range! But the scientists warn that in poorer countries the outlook is "dismal" and treating the issue with drugs will create an "unsustainable financial burden," so, yeah, we're pretty much screwed.

· Obesity Affects One in 10 Adults Around the World [BBC]
· How Tiny Nauru Became World's Fattest Nation [Independent]
· All Obesity Coverage on Eater [-E-]