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Nauru: Dark Reality of the World’s Fattest Country

Nauru: Dark Reality of the World’s Fattest Country

Written by Sanjay Kumar

Nauru is a small island nation located in the Pacific Ocean. It covers just 21 square kilometers and is home to around 10,000 people. However, despite its small size, Nauru has a big problem – it is known as the world’s fattest nation. In this blog post, we will explore the history of Nauru and how it became the world’s fattest nation. We will also look at the dark reality of this issue and what steps are being taken to deal with it.


Country in Oceania

  • Area: 21 km²
  • Continent: Oceania
  • Population: 12,511 (2021) World Bank
  • Currency: Australian Dollar
  • Gross domestic product: 13.32 crores USD (2021) World Bank
  • GDP per capita: 10,648.14 USD (2021) World Bank
  • Official languages: Nauruan, English

The History of Nauru: The Rise of Obesity in the Smallest Independent Republic in the World

Nauru was first settled by Micronesian and Polynesian people over 3,000 years ago. The island was discovered by Europeans in the 18th century, and it was annexed by Germany in the late 1800s. The island then became a protectorate of Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom in 1914. During World War II, Nauru was occupied by Japanese forces, and the island suffered significant damage as a result.

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After the war, Nauru was administered by Australia under a United Nations trusteeship. The island was granted independence in 1968, and it became the smallest independent republic in the world. Nauru is known for its rich deposits of phosphate, which were first discovered in 1900. Phosphate mining became the main industry on the island, and it provided the country with significant revenue.

For several decades, Nauru enjoyed a high standard of living, and the people of the island enjoyed a diet that was largely based on fish, coconut, and other local foods. However, the prosperity that came with the phosphate industry did not last. By the 1980s, the phosphate deposits on the island had been largely depleted, and the industry was no longer able to support the economy.

As the phosphate industry declined, the people of Nauru began to rely more heavily on imported food. This change in diet had a significant impact on the health of the island’s population. As more processed foods and sugary drinks became available, the people of Nauru began to consume them in large quantities. This change in diet, combined with a lack of physical activity, led to a rise in obesity on the island.

Today, Nauru has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. According to a 2016 report by the World Health Organization, more than 70% of the island’s population is classified as overweight or obese.

The Dark Reality of Obesity in Nauru

The obesity crisis in Nauru has had devastating consequences. The country has high rates of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems associated with obesity. The healthcare system is struggling to cope with the demand, and many people are unable to access the care they need. The economic impact of obesity is also significant, with the cost of treating obesity-related illnesses and lost productivity estimated to be around 20% of the country’s GDP.

Obesity has also had a profound impact on the social fabric of Nauru. The stigma associated with being overweight has led to discrimination and exclusion. Children who are overweight are often bullied at school, and adults face barriers to employment and social participation.

What is Being Done to Address Obesity in Nauru?

The government of Nauru has recognized the seriousness of the obesity crisis and is taking steps to address it. In 2016, the government launched the Nauru Healthy Weight Initiative, which aims to promote healthy eating and physical activity. The initiative includes a range of programs, including community health education, school-based interventions, and workplace health programs.

International organizations have also stepped in to support Nauru’s efforts. The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided technical assistance and training to health professionals, and the Pacific Community has provided funding for health promotion activities.

In conclusion, the obesity crisis in Nauru highlights the far-reaching impact of lifestyle and diet on health and well-being. While efforts are underway to address the issue, the complex nature of the problem requires sustained and coordinated action.

It is worth noting that Nauru is not alone in facing this challenge. The World Health Organization reports that there are presently 1.6 billion adults around the globe who are overweight. This number is anticipated to increase by 40% over the next decade. The succeeding list represents the proportion of adults aged 15 and above who are overweight, as defined by having an individual body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater. An individual is considered obese if their BMI is 30 or higher.

Rank Country %
1. Nauru 94.5
2. Micronesia, Federated States of 91.1
3. Cook Islands 90.9
4. Tonga 90.8
5. Niue 81.7
6. Samoa 80.4
7. Palau 78.4
8. Kuwait 74.2
9. United States 74.1
10. Kiribati 73.6

These countries share many of the same challenges as Nauru, including a shift away from traditional diets, a lack of physical activity, and limited access to healthcare. Addressing the obesity crisis in these countries will require global cooperation, innovative solutions, and a sustained commitment to improving health outcomes for all.


01. Which are the top 20 fattest countries?

The top 20 fattest countries are as follows: –

  1. Nauru
  2. Micronesia, Federated States of
  3. Cook Islands
  4. Tonga
  5. Niue
  6. Samoa
  7. Palau
  8. Kuwait
  9. United States
  10. Kiribati
  11. Dominica
  12. Barbados
  13. Argentina
  14. Egypt
  15. Malta
  16. Greece
  17. New Zealand
  18. United Arab Emirates
  19. Mexico
  20. Trinidad and Tobago

02. Which is the fattest country in the world?

According to the latest available data, the world’s fattest country is Nauru, a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean.

03. How did Nauru become the world’s fattest country?

Nauru has a combination of factors that have contributed to its high obesity rates, including limited access to fresh, healthy food, a sedentary lifestyle, and a cultural emphasis on food as a symbol of hospitality and generosity.

04. What is the obesity rate in Nauru?

According to the latest available data from the World Health Organization, the obesity rate in Nauru is 61.0%.

05. Are there other countries with high obesity rates?

Yes, there are several other countries with high obesity rates, including Tonga, Samoa, Kuwait, and the United States.

06. What are the health consequences of obesity?

Obesity is associated with a range of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, and mental health issues.

07. What can be done to reduce obesity rates in Nauru and other countries?

Addressing obesity requires a multifaceted approach, including improving access to healthy food, promoting physical activity, educating the public about healthy lifestyles, and implementing policies to reduce the consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages.

08. Is obesity only a problem in developed countries?

No, obesity is a global problem affecting both developed and developing countries. In fact, some developing countries are experiencing a rapid increase in obesity rates due to changes in diet and lifestyle.

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