Iraqis Getting Fat: I Blame Bush

There’s an obesity epidemic in Iraq that’s been fueled by the war, Tina Susman reports for the LAT.

 Tina Susman / Los Angeles Times Haidar Kareem Said, who weighs 495 pounds, sits with his brother, Mohammed Kareem Said, while awaiting an operation to have a band placed around his stomach.

For most of the last five years, sectarian violence has drastically altered Iraqis’ lifestyles. Most retreated to the safety of their homes and became increasingly sedentary, rarely venturing out of their neighborhoods. To go out was to risk being kidnapped, killed by a bomb or caught up in the other violence plaguing Iraq. Curfews hindered people who tried to remain active.


Statistics on obesity in Iraq are difficult to come by, but a World Health Organization survey in 2006 found that 26% of men and 38% of women ages 25 to 65 were obese, with a body mass index of 30 or higher. Though no direct comparisons are available, roughly 33% of American men and 35% of American women were considered obese in a 2005-06 study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

It’s not implausible that Iraqis who are scared to leave their homes are putting on weight.  But I’ll need more than a couple of anecdotal cases, vague scary talk, and random statistics that tell us nothing about trends.

FILED UNDER: General, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    Heh. You’d have to work pretty hard at what our subject in the picture has done to hismelf, to do it within the timeframe between ur intial attac on Saddam and now. Seems a safe bet to me that he’s been working on that load for far longer.

  2. Bob says:

    If you aurgue that you’re too scared to go out then just exactly how is the food getting to you? I spent time in Iraq and most Iraqis don’t have gardens or live on farms. Might one suggest that they might be overeating? But that might suggest that all is not a disaster in Iraq.

  3. Spoker says:

    No doubt, this is BDS at its finest. Should we also indict Burger King and Hamburglar while we’re at it?

  4. G.A.Phillips says:

    I blame people eat who way more then they should.

  5. Brett says:

    On the bright side, if they are all quite obese, then they’re too fat and nonathletic to chase after each other and shoot.

  6. G.A.Phillips says:

    maybe he thought the WMD’s were government cheese or something, maybe thats were they went?

  7. So about a year and a half ago things were so bad that Obama was pushing for a withdrawal even though he acknowledged a genocidal massacre was likely to follow. Now the worst the MSM can find is we may have made people fat. Advantage McCain.

  8. Moonbat Boy says:

    Maybe this will help the out of work grave diggers.

  9. markm says:

    It’s not only Iraqis…it’s the entire mideast. Need more proof???