Palau ranked third in the list of most obese countries in the world this year with more than half of its population identified as obese, according to the data from the World Population Review (WPR).

The WPR statistics revealed that 55.3% of Palau’s population is obese in contrast to the Cook Islands, which claimed the second spot on the list, with 55.9% of its people found to be obese.

Nauru, meanwhile, topped the list of the most obese countries in the world with 61% of its people found to be obese.

Small Pacific Island nations such as the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Niue, Tonga, Samoa, and Kiribati claimed the top 10 spots of the list while most economically rich and developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom only ranked 12th and 36th, respectively.

Obesity is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health.

The measurement of obesity is determined through calculation of the Body Mass Index (BMI), a person’s weight (kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (meters). One is considered obese if the BMI reaches 30 or more.

According to WHO, obesity is major risk factor for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)