Why does obesity a rarity in Europe?


Oct 18th, 2003, 09:09 AM
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Some more observations: 1-Europe has a lower percentage of working mothers, which means women cook more at home with fresh ingredients instead of relying on carryout, restaurants, and convenience foods. 2-Many Europeans have their large meal at noon, which gives them time to work off calories. 3-Eating is also a social experience, esp. in the Mediterranean countries,so people eat more slowly and thus consume less, rather than eat-and-run U.S. style.
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Oct 27th, 2003, 11:17 AM
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I came across this article today, relevant to this topic and truly frightening IMO:


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Oct 27th, 2003, 11:23 AM
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Fewer cars, so they walk more, or bicycle.
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Oct 27th, 2003, 11:54 AM
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When I went to Poland for the first time a few years ago I was astounded at what they ate. Lots of fatty food and not a fat person in sight. (butter, lard, meats, etc..)
Yet I realized it was all fresh, no wonder bread, no frozen process meats, no tv dinners, no microwaved crap. When I went back home I began to eat more like that, I threw away the margarine and the bread, used honey instead of refined sugar, ate oatmeal instead of cereal (loads of sugar there) cheddar instead of processed American cheese, etc... I lost 13 pounds in about 4 months. Bloodwork improved, had more energy, etc.
I began to realize that processed food has preservatives in them to make them last, to prevent them from decomposing. When you eat this kind food, those preservatives are still there, reducing your body's ability to break down the food hence less nutrients and less energy expended. The food stays in your gut half digested and rotting away instead of being digested and evacuated.
This diet sounds strangly like the Atkins......
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Oct 27th, 2003, 12:26 PM
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That BBC article has to have something wrong in it. No way Finns are as "sturdy" as Americans. There are a lot of overweight people, but I am still waiting for the day when I see my first obese Finn (with obese I mean these really fat people, whose legs are even fat). I saw obese people in US already 30 years ago.

In Finland one is counted overweight the moment person's weight index (weight divided with height x height)surpasses 25. That means for example that a person who is 162 cm and weighs 68 kilos is overweight, and reported in statistics.

And it cannot be snacking. I was an exchange student in US (ages ago). I weighted 48 kilos when I arrived, and 64 kilos a year later. And I did not snack or eat junk food. I always thought that there must have been a lot of "hidden fats" in food. I lost 15 kilos in half a year after I came home and went on the fish/potato/carrot/ryebread/meat-on-Sundays-only diet my family (and everybody else in those days) practised.
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Oct 27th, 2003, 01:06 PM
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Europe is definitely getting fatter. This becomes more obvious with each of our yearly visits, and is consistent with a number of news articles I have read during the past few years. We just returned from three weeks in France, and the new twist we noticed this year is the growing number of very young women that are overweight. The one thing that remains rare, however, is the grossly obese person (although we did encounter one such person outside of Paris that was clearly a local). I won't speculate as to whether or not it is a coincidence, but the cars are getting bigger as well.
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Oct 27th, 2003, 01:30 PM
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For those in the US, have you seen those adverts for a well known brand of frozen microwave meal? The ones that ridicule the person that eats a healthy meal (blown over in the wind, by a sneeze etc) compared to the one who eats the manufactured frozen type being pushed by these dealers, sorry food manufacturers? The tag line is "It's good to be full!"
It's a culture of excess driven by portion sizes and lack of exercise, something the UK is catching up on as others have noted.
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Oct 27th, 2003, 07:03 PM
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Sorry, I don't mean to keep topping this thread, but in reference to the above post, here is a funny but revolting "analysis" of a microwave breakfast manufactured by the company that was alluded to above. You may never eat breakfast again! Warning: the article includes a couple of four letter words.


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Oct 27th, 2003, 07:09 PM
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Oh, Kay! That is the funniest thing! That meal was so awful and the script was so funny!
"they are trying to make us all into Manatees" LOL
Thank you for the good laugh~
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Oct 28th, 2003, 12:40 PM
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That is a cool article.
And you KNOW that you see people around who eat these things - the same people that see the all you can eat buffet as a challenge.
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Oct 28th, 2003, 01:27 PM
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There's a lot of reasons why Europeans are thinner than us in the U.S.

1. Far fewer fast food franchises to tempt them.
My wife comes from a town in Germany of 8000 people and they do not have 1 fast food rest. The town we live in in the U.S. has 7000 people and 8 fast food franchises.
It's a lot easier to "resist" temptation when you aren't really tempted.

2. Exercise. I swear I walk more in my 2 weeks in Germany on vacation than I do the whole year in the U.S.
Because the villages are so much more compact, people tend to have fewer cars and walk more often.
Also, look around the countryside on a Sunday in Europe. You will see people of all ages out walking and strolling, enjoying nature.
All you have to do is look at the "shape" of fat Europeans versus fat Americans. When we have visitors from germany they always ask why we have so many pear shaped people, why the womens asses are so big and why they have the big pooch in front. I'm not being mean, it's just true.
Look at an overweight European. They are usually "Thick", no pear shaped or fat in one place. They are fat from over eating, but not from lack of exercise in most cases.

4. Like everyone else says, smaller portions AND time of day. Not only do they eat smaller portions, but many Germans have their warm meal at lunch, and have breads and meats for dinner.

5. Culture. Most of Europe is obsessed with athletics and physical fitness. The difference is they participate in athletics, we watch athletics.

But really, they have far fewer temptations. You don't see nearly as many fast food franchises and never see anything advertised on TV other than McDonalds because they don't have chain restuarants for the most part.
If they are hungry, they run into the bakery and grab a pretzel. If I'm hungry I run by Mcdonalds and grab a Big Mac and fries. Big diff!
I know it still comes down to will power, but it's a lot easier to preach will power when you don't have nearly the temptations we do in America.
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Oct 28th, 2003, 01:38 PM
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I was recently in Czech republic and something that really stood out was that there were no fat people !
I'm sure there must be but I didn't see anyone. The Czechs' are all really slim.
I offer no explaination other than the good wholesome food they eat and the effects of communism until the late 80's.
They drink gallons of beer so well done CZ

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Oct 28th, 2003, 01:45 PM
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Preservatives and additives. Bad, bad, bad. I lived in Europe for four months, during which time, contrary to what I had been told, my Spanish hostess prepared three HUGE meals each day (so much for the small breakfast, afternoon "big" meal, and small, if any, dinner...). And I ate it all, or she'd get upset. On a small frame, that's a recipe for disaster. Au contraire, I LOST weight. Probably due, in part, to the four mile round-trip walk to classes each day.

However, walking burns very few calories, at least comparatively speaking. Why did I lose weight? All the food my hostess cooked with was fresh. Fresh veggies, fresh meat, and fresh bread. No preservatives, no additives, and none of those icking trans fats that are clogging our arteries as we read and write! The only pre-packaged food I ate was little yogurt cups for dessert.

American food manufacturers are trying to kill us with the nasty additives that help their products stay fresh longer and "taste" better. Good news is that by 2005, all food will have to list its trans fat contents on the label, which will, in turn, lead to lower amounts, because none of these companies wants that crap advertised!
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Oct 28th, 2003, 03:37 PM
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That was hilarious! Thanks for a great laugh!

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Oct 29th, 2003, 10:39 AM
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How about the theory of "comparative gemuchleit"? The average meal (in a restaurant) in Europe tends to be more tasty as well as wholesome, whereas in US tends to be more convenient and fast. Can one even think of SAVORING a big Mac, or a cola? Whereas, I can easily conceive of s-l-o=w=l-y eating osso buco, or wiener schnitzel, or even wurst mit kraut, along with a fine wine or Krusovice beer. If we take our time when eating, the sense of fullness kicks in while we're still eating, rather than afterward, so we don't eat as much. This is, of course, in addition to the posts above on forgoing bread, wholesome food, etc.
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Oct 29th, 2003, 10:47 AM
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What are you people looking at when you go to Europe? Not all fat people are American. I have seen plenty of fat people in Europe and they are not speaking English. If they are smoking, they most likely are not American.
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Oct 29th, 2003, 11:58 AM
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I think that we have become obsessed with chocolate in the US. It is a common denominator to talk about, like sports. I only like brownies myself. In most restaurant here the only desserts are huge things made with a lot of cream, ex. banana creme pie. In France they often serve a delicious dessert made of fruit with a bit of cream - soupe de fruit or fruits rouge [red]. And their dessert portions are about 1/3 of ours.
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Oct 29th, 2003, 12:52 PM
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Europeans are slimmer due to the smokes, no other reason.
As for fat Americans, I do like the sex substitute theory someone wrote about. Now thats funny.
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Oct 29th, 2003, 01:48 PM
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can y'all stop bringing this thread up to the top!!!

i cringe every time i see the heading!!!

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