Published on Feb 8, 2018
Obesity is now the biggest health threat facing Kuwait — and the country’s obsession with American fast food could be to blame.
The very first McDonald’s restaurant appeared in Kuwait on a U.S. military base set up to support the 1991 invasion of Iraq. Since then, the industry has rapidly expanded — there are now hundreds of U.S. fast food restaurants in Kuwait and as a result, the country has become one of the most obese nations on the planet.
“The begining of fast food, I would say it is part of the Americanization of the culture here.” Dr. Mohsen Bagnied, a professor at the American University of Kuwait told VICE News. Now, Kuwait has roughly double the percentage of diabetic adults than the U.S.
The fast food industry isn’t just operating in the Middle East. American Fast food brands populate more than 100 countries around the world, occupying six continents. And the global fast food industry is projected to be worth over $600 billion by 2019. VICE’s Gianna Toboni travels to Kuwait to witness the health effects on a country deep in the throes of an unlikely obsession with U.S. fast food.