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Mexico Takes Over America’s Spot as the World’s Most Obese Developed Country

Update Date: Jul 10, 2013 01:08 PM EDT

There are currently over 1.4 billion obese adults within the global community who are 20-years-old or older according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 20 percent of the world's population is obese. These statistics are alarming and have pushed politicians and health organizations to develop new ways of curbing obesity. In America, the fight against the obesity pandemic seems to have progressed somewhat now that it is no longer the most obese developed nation in the world. The undesirable spot on this list now belongs to another North American nation, Mexico.

"The same people [Mexicans] who are malnourished are the ones who are becoming obese," reported a physician from Mexico's National Nutrition Institute, Abelardo Avila according to CBS News. "In the poor classes we have obese parents and malnourished children. The worst think is the children are becoming programmed for obesity. It's a very serious epidemic."

In the latest reports, around 70 percent of Mexicans can be classified as obese. On top of this large rate, childhood obesity has increased three-folds over the past decade. Since obese children tend to become obese adults 80 percent of the time, developing new ways of promoting healthier lifestyles and diets are extremely vital for this nation.

Despite these alarming statistics, which also include 70,000 fatalities per year from diabetes and over 400,000 new cases diagnosed every year, health experts state that these numbers are not surprising. Not only have Avila and government officials stressed the importance of developing programs to combat obesity, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) recommended that Mexico consider obesity a national emergency two years ago. The FAO more recently announced that Mexico's rate of adult obesity was 32.8 percent. This percentage is higher than America's 31.8 percent.

Experts have blamed this increased rate of obesity on the fact that the country has been shifting toward a more urban lifestyle, which means that more people are sitting around and living more sedentary lifestyles than ever before. On top of that, poorer people continue to lack the funds and sometimes the education to access healthier options.

"As more Mexicans move from rural to urban communities they become more sedentary and they eat a steady diet of unhealthy, highly caloric foods," an obesity researcher, Martin Binks said to ABC News. Binks is also the spokesman for the Obesity Society.

The overall world's most obese nation title belongs to the island of American Samoa. There, around 75 percent of the residents are obese with 20 percent of them being overweight. The slimmest nations are mostly concentrated in Asia. Vietnam and Laos has an obesity population rate of less than one percent.  

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