British women and Maltese men topped European obesity rates according to data released Thursday that also undermined popular belief that all French women are thin.
The figures released by the European Union's statistics agency showed the proportion of obese adults ranging from eight percent to 23.9 percent for women and 7.6 percent to 24.7 percent for men.
Though a worry for public health, the rates are well below those in the United States, where the corresponding figure was 28.8 percent for women and 27.6 percent for men in 2009, Eurostat said.
The lowest shares were recorded in Romania, with eight percent for women and 7.6 percent for men, Italy, with 9.3 percent and 11.3 percent, Bulgaria, at 11.3 and 11.6 percent, and France, 12.7 and 11.7 percent.
Highest proportions for women were in Britain, with 23.9 percent, Malta with 21.1 percent, Latvia with 20.9 percent and Estonia at 20.5 percent.
While men in the former British colony of Malta topped the chart at 24.7 percent, they were closely followed by Britain at 22.1 percent, Hungary with 21.4 percent and the Czech Republic at 18.4.
"There is no systematic difference in obesity between women and men," said Eurostat, adding that the proportion for women was higher in eight EU nations, higher for men in 10 and equal in one.