From "Extreme Pig Outs"

Last night I started clicking and arrived at “Extreme Pig Outs,” on the Travel Channel. The premise: “America’s the fattest country in the world! And we didn’t get that way from eating broccoli.”

I wasn’t exactly hooked, but it didn’t seem that there was anything else on. (I wish I’d caught up with Kevin earlier: he’d found a program on the History Channel about the Mayflower.)

Anyway, an hour of watching folks make themselves sick at demented eating contests carried us through to the news. But though the statement that we’re the fattest people in the world seems right, is it true?

Apparently not. According to GlobalPost, the United States is only the third-fattest, based on data compiled by the World Health Organization.

Coming in at number one, believe it or not, is American Samoa, which is not an independent country, but which is apparently sufficiently non-American to get us off the hook. Fully 99.3 percent have body-mass indexes of 30 or more.

Following American Samoa is the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, which I confess I’d never heard of. Then comes the United States, with 66.7 percent breaking the tragic 30 barrier.

Some of the countries on the list are surprising. Egypt? Bosnia? Israel? Who knew? But there are specific explanations for each.

For instance, the reporter, Laurie Cunningham, writes that well-educated Jewish women in Israel are among the thinnest in the world; the obesity problem exists mainly among poorly educated Arab women. That, of course, reflects weight disparities based on income and education in the U.S. as well.

We in Media Nation are trying to avoid becoming statistics, though it may be hard. After a Thanksgiving dinner with my 95-year-old uncle yesterday, we’re going to do it all over again today. Turkey coma awaits.