Mexico's obesity rate exceeds that of U.S., report finds

Europe, East Asia continue to show much lower obesity rates than U.S.

NEW YORK — One admittedly unhealthy way to feel better about a bad situation is to remind oneself that someone, somewhere has it worse. The latest news on obesity might serve such a purpose for Americans, according to a new report.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization released its annual "The State of Food and Agriculture Report" recently, finding that the adult obesity rate in Mexico was 32.8%, compared with 31.8% in the United States, making Mexico the highly populated country with the largest percentage of obese adults. But any sighs of relief in the United States might be tempered when considering that Canada's obesity rate is 24.3%.

Many countries with small populations have considerably higher obesity rates: the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru has a rate of 71.1%. But the United States and Mexico both have a long way to go before reaching Europe's svelte 21.4%, to say nothing of the 4.5% rate of Japan.

A study released Wednesday by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation ranked unhealthy diets as the leading risk factor for death in the United States, ahead of smoking or drug and alcohol abuse.

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