30 Most Obese Countries In The World in 2018: Biggest Anti-Obesity Drug Markets

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The 30 most obese countries in the world in 2018 represent a huge (pun intended) market opportunity for weight loss drugmakers. Increasingly sedentary lifestyles and a lack of healthy eating habits among large swaths of the global population have resulted in dramatically rising obesity rates in the past few decades, particularly in urban settings.

Obesity is a relatively modern problem and figuring out how to combat it the most effectively is likewise in its infancy. While the growth in obesity rates is partly thanks to our improved global wealth, by no means is it only prevalent among wealthy societies. Low- and middle-income countries are being hit equally hard and even far-flung regions of the world like remote Pacific islands have fallen prey to imports of fatty junk food and sugary beverages.

Obesity is clinically defined as excessive deposits of fat that pose a serious health risk. It is generally measured in terms of Body Mass Index (or BMI), which is a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in meters). People with a BMI of more than or equal to 30 are classified as obese.

Countries with Highest Obesity Rates


Many of the 30 most obese countries in the world in 2018 are island nations in the Pacific and Caribbean. The governments in most of these countries already have or are planning to ban imported carbonated soft drinks, candy, tinned meat, and other imported junk food. Ignorance, lack of nutrition education, and English labeling of food products are some of the reasons why people in these regions consume a large variety of packaged junk food. Governments are also trying to promote the consumption of local, healthy and fresh produce and emphasizing physical activity like exercise and walking.

Obesity is now considered a chronic disease which increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Countries with high rates of obesity are also the biggest anti-obesity drug markets. And since obesity leads to other major ailments like diabetes, big pharmaceutical companies have large portfolios of diabetes drugs that are also benefiting from this growth trend. According to Research And Markets, the global anti-obesity drugs market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 20.9% from 2017 through 2023.

Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS)Sanofi SA ADR (NYSE:SNY)Novo Nordisk A/S (ADR) (NYSE:NVO), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) are among the pharma companies trying to find effective and reliable solutions to reduce obesity rates. Novo Nordisk A/S (ADR) (NYSE:NVO)’s Saxenda is a new medicine available in Qatar to fight obesity. It was launched in 2015 in the U.S. The company is making a huge investment in researching and developing new anti-obesity drugs. Another drug called Contrave, developed by Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX), was also recently approved. Several anti-obesity drugs have proven effective at greatly reducing body mass and offer a convenient solution for people who do not want to spend a fortune on surgeries and for whom changes in diet or exercise have not been overly successful.

Our list of the 30 Most Obese Countries In The World in 2018 – Biggest Anti-Obesity Drug Markets, has been prepared based on the common choices between four websites – Renewbariatrics, Telegraph, WorldAtlas, and Graphicmaps.com. The list has been divided into four groups, with the first group comprising countries that were common across all four sources and so forth. We have ranked each country based on the percentage of their population that qualifies as obese.

Head to the next page to see where countries rank in terms of having the most obese citizens, beginning with those countries in Group IV. Afterwards, be sure to check out our list of the 11 fattest countries in the world.

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