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The average American consumes 3,774 calories a day, almost double the 1,960 calories consumed by the average man or woman in India. 76% of American men and 73% of American women are overweight, compared with 17% of Indian men and 15% of Indian women. But America is not the fattest nation. Read on….

There is a fascinating article in August’s Zest magazine, giving all kinds of facts and figures about the state of the nations when it comes to food, drink, weight and health. Here are a load of fascinating facts about our global eating habits…

Amongst the Europeans, the French are relatively lean, with only 46% of men and 35% of women being overweight. But here’s the trade-off – 35% of women aged 16-30 smoke.

It takes a French person 22 minutes to eat a McDonald’s burger, while an American chomps through a larger-size burger in a mere 14 minutes. Presumably the French could eat faster if they didn’t keep having to stop to drag on a cigarette.

Despite being the second thinnest nation surveyed (after India), with just 18% of women being overweight, Japanese women want to lose an average of 11lb 8oz. Yet Canadian women, 57% of whom are overweight, are relatively at ease with their size – 69% saying they are happy with their weight, although statistically this must include 12% who shouldn’t be. Similarly, 65% of Italian women think they are the perfect weight, even though 38% of them are officially a bit tubby.

Maybe this has something to do with exercise helping to promote a better body self-image. 62% of Italians exercise, whereas only 15% of Japanese women do. Brazilian women, 71% of whom take regular exercise, are the nationality most likely to describe themselves as beautiful.

Brits consume an average 3.412 calories a day – 66% of our menfolk are overweight, 62% of our women. We have bigger waists than our American counterparts – our average vital statistics are 39-34-41, while they are 41-34-43.

There are more overweight Australians that Brits (72% of men and 63% of women), despite them clocking up an average 8,873 steps every day – impressively close to the recommended 10,000. The average American manages a measly 5,210 steps a day.

Other things you probably didn’t know:
– the average German eats 100kg of meat a year, equating to about 4.5lb a week.
– Swedish women have the lowest alcohol consumption in the world, with only 1% drinking every day
– The average Russian man, by contrast, consumes ¼ litre of vodka a day
– The average Mexican consumes 120kg of tortilla and 7.5kg of chilli peppers every year

So, you may be wondering, who ARE the fattest people on earth?

You may recall that before he went on a diet, King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga made the Guinness World Records book for weighty monarchs, weighing in at 462lb (or 33 stone, or 210 kg). He now weighs in at a (relatively) svelte 286lb. Apparently 97% of Tongans (and seemingly a similar proportion of former ocean-rowers) carry a gene that makes them prone to weight gain.

So the Tongans are officially the world’s heaviest nation. 90% of their men are overweight, and 91% of their women. The average dimensions of Mr Tonga are 5ft 7in tall, 14st 3lb in weight. Mrs Tonga is 5ft 4in tall, and weights in at 14st 9lb.

Given my current sensitivity about my weight (30lb gained in 4 months, since my rather skinny arrival in Antigua) I think I’ve just found the perfect destination for my next holiday…

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