VIVA LA FAT!
January 26, 2006
As the rate of obesity in France rises, the country might lose its skinny crown, says the Economist.
According to researchers:
- The rate of obesity in France has started to swell, rising from 8 percent of the adult population in 1977 to 11 percent by 2003.
- Over 40 percent of the French are now considered overweight, and France has the same share of fat people today as America did in 1991 -- and an upward trend to match.
- Even though French figures are based on polls asking people if they are fat, denial inevitably intrudes causing self-reporting to produce underestimates.
Either way, France's politicians have started to notice; in October, a parliamentary report called for a public health campaign and a law has been passed to impose a 1.5 percent tax on the advertising budget of food companies if they do not encourage healthy eating, says the Economist.
But what has happened to France's waistline? The simple answer: France has latched on to the fast-food culture:
- France is one of the biggest and most profitable European markets for McDonald's.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fast-food joints are spreading across the country.
- Frozen pizzas and fizzy drinks are also nibbling away at the traditional family mean, particularly in poorer households.
Source: Editorial, "Gross National Product," Economist, December 24, 2005.
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