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Why are the French so thin?
Sunday, January 08, 2012 11:51 am Email this article
While in Paris to present my paper at the Eighth International Obesity Conference August 29 to September 3, 1998, I spent a lot of time walking among the crowds of people in the city. I was surprised to note that the French were all thin. The occasional overweight person I did see invariably turned out to be an older German or an American (any age). Why are the French so thin?
Reasons you might think are important, that aren't...
- The French smoke more. 40% of their adults smoke compared to 25% of U.S. adults, but 60% of the French adults don't smoke and they are thin, too!
- The French walk more than Americans, but they don't walk much more. And the people in Paris are thinner than the people in the countryside, although the rural folk get more exercise.
The true reasons for French thinness...
- The French have more free time. They jealously guard their free time, regarding it as an essential part of their quality-of-life. Every Frenchman gets five weeks paid vacation by law. Shopkeepers are closed one day during the week as well as taking weekends off. I have noted that my American patients with hectic schedules have least success with phen-pro or any other weight-loss program. The French never have a hectic daily schedule.
- The French love to organize things. Do they ever! They are compulsive about it.
- The French care more about thinness. This is true of the women compared to American women, but it is even more true of the men! The combination of #1, #2 and #3 makes them very good dieters. The French control their weight mainly by eating less, but it's not through personal, conscious dieting. It is cultural, impersonal, en masse.
- Since the French work less, they earn less money and everything is more expensive. They can't afford as much food as Americans.
- The French eat off the top of the food chain, insisting on fine meats and pastries. This makes it even more difficult for them to afford food.
- "Junk food" is hard to find! If you want candy, you have to find a specific candy store. Drug stores don't sell candy. There are no 7-11 type stores. People that work as little as the French do, don't need "convenience" stores. Pizza shops are rare. Ice cream stands are ordinary.
- The French restaurants serve smaller servings of better-cooked food than the Americans.
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