If you say the weight of the world is on your shoulders, now you'll be able to quantify it, thanks to a new study that found the world's population weighs 316 million tons, or about 287 million metric tons.

The results, published Monday in the online journal BMC Public Health, also found that the United States is the fattest country on Earth. The distinction was based on 2005 data from the World Health Organization.

Rounding out the top five heaviest countries were Kuwait, Croatia, Qatar and Egypt.

The weight of the world study's authors said their findings should be a driving force to help governments solve the obesity epidemic.

With the weight of the world at 287 million metric tons, the increasing food demands of heavier people equates to having an extra 473 million people on the planet, the study found.

Tackling population fatness may be critical to world food security and ecological sustainability, the authors wrote. The journal article can be viewed here.

North America was the fattest continent, the researchers found, with the average weight of a North American adult being roughly 178 pounds; the world average was about 137 pounds. Oceania was the second-largest at 163 pounds. Third-heaviest was Europe at 156 pounds, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean at nearly 150 pounds. Africa was second-lightest at 134 pounds and Asia was the lightest at 127 pounds.

Here is a list of the 10 heaviest and 10 lightest countries, according to the study. Countries with populations fewer than 100,000 people were not included in the study.


1.       United States

2.       Kuwait

3.       Croatia

4.       Qatar

5.       Egypt

6.       United Arab Emirates

7.       Trinidad and Tobago

8.       Argentina

9.       Greece

10.     Bahrain


1.       North Korea

2.       Cambodia

3.       Burundi

4.       Nepal

5.       Democratic Republic of the Congo

6.       Bangladesh

7.       Sri Lanka

8.       Ethiopia

9.       Vietnam

10.     Eritrea