2 Dec 2009

American Samoans top WHO overweight list

11:41 am on 2 December 2009

A survey by the World Health Organisation shows that American Samoa is the country with the highest number of overweight inhabitants.

According to the recently-released WHO report, 93.5 percent of American Samoa's population is overweight.

The reports puts Kiribati in second place, with 81.5 percent of its population being overweight, the US is third with 66.7 percent and Germany fourth with 66.5 percent.

The report says traditionally, Pacific Islanders ate native foods high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat, such as bananas, yams, taro root, coconut and fish.

Since the Second World War, an explosion of obesity on the islands has corresponded with a rise in migration to the U.S., New Zealand, France and Australia.

That began to change dietary habits as family members abroad introduced those back home to Western eating and sent money home, giving locals the means to buy more food.