Europeans, particularly the French, have been used by skeptics of the plant-based diet as an example of people who eat a lot of meat and dairy and yet still remain slim. “It’s because the meat they eat doesn’t have hormones in it.” “It’s because they eat so slowly.” “The cigarettes in France are magical — they make you skinny AND healthy.” I’ve heard all of these explanations at one point or another…although I’m pretty sure the guy who told me the third one was an overweight heavy smoker. Needless to say, “the European argument” is one of the most illogical excuses out there, and most sensible people have known it for a long time. Well, now those of you who have held on to this asinine assumption for a long time have some proof that it’s nonsense – the number of French obese people has doubled in the past 15 years to 7 million. WHOOPSIES! Look like obesity (and therefore diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and alzheimer’s) is a pandemic in Europe, too. Is there a Caldwell Esselstyn or Joel Fuhrman in France? I’m not sure, but it sounds like they need one. Here’s the original article from The Sydney Morning Herald: (photo credit: AFP)
No longer wafer thin: French obesity on the rise
PARIS: It has been called the land of the slim, but the number of obese people in France has doubled in the past 15 years to reach 7 million, a study has found.
Envied for somehow managing to eat great food and wine without putting on weight, the French are gradually falling foul of “Anglo-Saxon” couch-potato and fast-food culture, increasingly grazing between meals or in front of computer screens, the state-sponsored study by ObEpi-Roche found.
They may still officially be among Europe’s thinnest people but the average French person has put on more than 3 kilograms since 1997 to weigh in at 74 kilograms. That means that 15 per cent of the French population is now obese and 32.3 per cent overweight.
The NHS defines being overweight as having a body mass index – your weight to height ratio – of between 25 and 30, and obese as more than 30.
The French study registered the most significant weight gains among 18 to 24-year-olds, whose obesity levels have shot up by 35 per cent in the past three years.
Despite the overall rise, researchers said the study had a silver lining because the obesity growth rate had slowed over the past year.
A recent Ipsos-Logica Business Consulting study found that 61 per cent of young French people say they eat at least half the time in front of a screen, often skipping meals by eating throughout the day. More than a third said they played no sport while a quarter “often” consumed soda drinks at meal times.
The data found that poorer people, particularly in the northern Pas-de-Calais area, but also the east of France, were far more likely to be overweight than higher-paid families in Paris, Brittany and the French Riviera.
The French government blamed the obesity epidemic on junk food, calling for talks with the industry on improving the content and packaging of ready-to-eat meals.
“We are going to work with them on recipes to reduce the amount of sugar, salt and fat,” said Guillaume Garot, the food minister.
Britain has the fattest women in Europe, with almost 24 per cent obese, while British men come in second place behind Malta on 22 per cent, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Europe’s lowest rates of obesity were observed in Romania, with just 8 per cent of women and 7.6 per cent of men obese, ahead of Italy, Bulgaria and France.