Wednesday, August 10, 2011
The obesity epidemic is spreading to new places. France, whose obesity rate is far below the US, is beginning to rise there, with obesity rates matching the US in some places. According to this NPR article, much of the rise can be blamed on the influence of American eating habits. Experts believe the following habits are contributing to the weight increase:
1. Lack of cooking skills
2. Availability of vending machines
3. Eating and drinking on the go
4. Eating too often
5. Eating high-calorie, processed foods rather than fresh food
Due to the influence of American television characters, the French now are "copying what we see on American television shows....Now we think we have to do things we never did before, like open our refrigerator as soon as we walk in our front door, no matter the time of day."
Americans may be able to avoid the obesity trap by emulating the traditional French way of eating. We can learn to cook from scratch to avoid the high-calorie, highly processed foods. And we can also make cooking and eating a family affair. We can eat at set meal times and not grab food on the go or whenever it is available. It is the availability and ease of acquiring food that leads to the consumption of additional, unnecessary calories that helps put on the pounds.
(Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/9503)