Surprise, surprise. A new study in the BMC Public Health journal lists the United States as the heaviest nation in the world.
Given all the talk about obesity, the rankings shouldn't come as a surprise. LiveScience reports that the top 10 heaviest nations (with populations of more than 100,000) are: United States, Kuwait, Croatia, Qatar, Egypt, United Arab Emirates,Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Greece, and Bahrain.
The scarier part? Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine discovered that while North America has only 6 percent of the world's population, it holds 34 percent of human biomass due to obesity. Asia has 61 percent of the world's population, but only takes up 13 percent of the biomass.
The worldwide average weight, according to BMI and World Health Organization data, is 137 pounds. In North America, the average weight is 178 pounds; in Asia, 127 pounds.
"If all countries had the BMI distribution of the USA, the increase in human biomass of 58 million tonnes would be equivalent in mass to an extra 935 million people of average body mass, and have energy requirements equivalent to that of 473 million adults," the researchers wrote.
Still, researchers emphasize that it's not just about individual countries or even people. "One of the problems with definitions of obesity is that it fosters a 'them and us' ideal. Actually, we're all getting fatter," researcher Ian Roberts told BBC News.
Researchers found that in 2005, the adult human biomass was 287 million tons, worldwide, and 15 million tons were attributed to overweight pounds.
As for obesity, 1.2 percent of the human biomass was attributed to obesity alone. Researchers say that the 3.5 million extra tons of weight due to obesity is the equivalent of 56 million average people.