Self-loathing Americans, and Europeans happy to oblige them, have long noted how fat Americans are, and a common urban myth has been that America is the fattest nation.   But that is not true, others noted, America is simply the fattest of the rich, industrial nations (and even there, it is just an average and America does not lead by much).

But even that is not true, according to a world report on obesity published last week in The Lancet.   The actual fattest nations are instead places in the South Pacific, like Samoa and Hawaii (edit: oops, Hawaii is not a nation, as noted in the comments below, and I meant Nauru - I just got back from Hawaii last evening so it was on my mind), and have been for decades and the fattest industrialized nation is in the Mid-East: United Arab Emirates. 

America actually has lower average BMIs than rich nations like Kuwait and Arabia (sorry, Saudi Arabia, though we resist feeding the egos of dictators who force countries to be named after them and Arabia's dictator does something even a kook in North Korea has not done in forcing everyone to consider it his country by name) and the American average is about the same as Egypt.  

Did America go on a health kick?   No, the progressive, Utopian ideal of cheap food for everyone has happened and so people are getting fatter.   We are all concerned about feeding a growing world population but at least in the top 100 countries, there is no issue, and science will soon make sure that all countries can make their people fat.

For those of you who insist obesity is genetic, Christopher Wanjek at LiveScience notes that, if that is true, "Genetic risk factors apparently include being African, Arabic, European, Eurasian, Pacific Islander, Native American, and Asian living outside of Asia."   In other words, don't make excuses, eat less.