Apart from being oil-rich, the Gulf also seems to be a fat-rich region, with four of the six GCC nations pulling their weight among the list of fattest 10 nations in the world, according to a recently published study.
The UAE is ranked No. 5 in the world among the ‘Heaviest 10’ category, with an average adult in the UAE weighing approximately 76kg, about 14kg heavier than the global average of 62kg, according to a team of European researchers who recently published their research in journal BMC Public Health.
Humans are 17 million tonnes, or 15 million metric tonnes, overweight, according to a recently published study that calculates the adult portion of humans’ collective weight at 316 million tonnes (287 million metric tonnes).
“Currently, more than a billion adults are overweight and in all regions of the world [and] the entire population distribution of body mass is moving upwards,” the researchers have warned.
The UAE’s Gulf peers are all equally – if not more – responsible for the world becoming a heavier place. Kuwait stands at No. 2 in the world in terms of ‘heavy’ adults, with an average adult there weighing 77.5kg, followed by Qatar at No. 3 (average adult weight: 76.9kg) and Bahrain at No. 8 (73.5kg) – all featuring in the fat list.
The crown, however, goes to the United States, with an average adult weight of approximately 82kg – an astounding 20kg overweight compared with the global average.
However, at 3,017 calories per adult per day, the UAE has the highest consumption of calories among the ‘heaviest 10’, followed by Qatari adults consuming 3,007 calories and Kuwaiti adults devouring 2,982 calories every day.
The ‘Lightest 10’ list, on the other hand, is composed entirely of African and Asian nations. The ‘lightest’ nation on earth is Bangladesh, with an average Bangladeshi adult weighing in at just 49.50kg, about 13kg lighter than the global average.
While obesity in itself carries a number of health hazards, growing biomass of existing adults also adds to the food and water shortage on our planet. “UN world population projections suggest that by 2050, there could be an additional 2.3 billion people. The ecological implications of rising population numbers will be exacerbated by increases in average body mass,” the researchers said.
The report highlights how the additional weight carried by the world population skews the numbers by hypothecating the entire world population’s body mass as that of the heaviest nation.
“If global biomass were to increase to a level where all countries had the age-sex BMI distributions of the USA, the biomass increase would be equivalent to an extra billion people of average body mass,” the report explained.
“Our scenarios suggest that global trends of increasing body mass will have important resource implications and that unchecked, increasing BMI could have the same implications for world energy requirements as an extra 473 million people. Tackling population fatness may be critical to world food security and ecological sustainability,” the report concluded.