The Maltese are among the most obese and overweight in the world, a report by the World Health Organisation has once again confirmed.

More than 73 per cent of all Maltese males aged 15 and over were considered to be overweight last year, and 28 per cent were obese.

Women do not fare much better with almost 68 per cent of all Maltese females over 15 considered to be overweight. More than a third (36.5 per cent) are considered obese.

In a global classification of 192 countries, Maltese men rank in the 16th position when it comes to being overweight while women rank 32nd in the list of heavyweights.

The results are more embarrassing when placed in a European context. Maltese women are the most overweight in Europe, according to the WHO, while only Greek men outdo their Maltese counterparts at the wrong end of the weighing scales.

The WHO statistics indicate that being overweight seems to be somehow related with living on an island, although there is nothing which scientifically proves this.

The most overweight people are found to be among the populations of the Republic of Nauru, followed by the Cook Islands.

According to the WHO, worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980 and is becoming a serious health problem. The WHO said being overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths and at least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.

Malta has mounted many educational campaigns in recent years to raise awareness on the need of a healthy diet and exercise, but the appeals appear to be falling on deaf ears.