No. 26: Small(er) People
Initially I thought I’d call this post: Small People.
However, upon reflection, I have concluded that the French actually aren’t as small as they are rumored to be. Only a few short years ago the French were considered small compared to Americans, but now it appears that smaller is the more accurate adjective. The “e-r”, sadly, is a necessary addition.
That said, the Frenchies are still thinner than their American counterparts. Americans claims a 35 percent obesity rate, and this difference in girth is very obvious when you cross the ocean after being away for a long time.
I certainly don’t want to rail against overweight people, but I must admit, I am discouraged by the aspects of our culture that make it so easy to become overweight and complacent. It’s difficult to see so many big folks living large in America.
I recognize that I live in a bit of a bubble in Paris, but the number of extremely hefty people I have seen this past week in America has alarmed me. It’s a HUGE problem (in all senses of the word) for the USA, and it pains me to see that our bad habits and patterns are beginning to make their way to the other side of the Atlantic.
While the French can still claim the title of the slimmest people in Europe, a previously unfathomable 15 percent of France’s population are now obese and over 30 percent are considered overweight. And according to an article recently published in the Daily Telegraph “the most significant weight gains (are) among 18 to 24-year-olds, whose obesity levels have shot up by 35 percent in the past three years.”
I find those statistics staggering and disturbingly familiar. For a country that prides itself on eating small portions, fresh food, and family meals, the French-don’t-get-fat-myth doesn’t quite ring true anymore.