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To wonder why we are getting so fat in this country

(232 Posts)
Spamspamspam Fri 09-Nov-12 16:38:54

I know it's been done before but lately I am really struggling to come to terms with the amount of overweight people there are. I have been really observant of late and can honestly say that even in the last 4 or 5 years people seem to be getting bigger and bigger. Why is this?

I have been to two different European cities in the last few weeks and can honestly say I struggled to find an overweight person walking about, I stayed in both cities for 3 days and got around a fair bit and really kept my eyes peeled and bar the odd person who might also have been travelling, I just couldn't see what I see in this country.

One interesting thing I noticed was the supermarkets and how different they are to ours. The fruit and vegetable sections are double in size in a supermarket smaller than ours over here. There are massive sections on fresh meat, fish, cheese etc and I couldn't find a "ready meal" or pre-packed sandwich anywhere. Crisps, biscuits are all very limited with limited flavours and styles and when you stand behind people in queues and observe their trolleys it's a completely different scenario to what you see in a local supermarket here.

I know a lot of people will come on and say there are plenty of overweight French, Italians, Spanish etc but I think this is delusional. I spent two weeks in Spain in the summer and was about 11 stone at 5' 7" so not exactly twiggy but felt huge in comparison to the European women and both myself and my friends really noticed that if there was an overweight woman/man/family about they were generally English.

I personally find it quite worrying.

Cozy9 Fri 09-Nov-12 16:44:50

People are too lazy. They drive everywhere when they should walk, and they don't know how to cook.

rubberglove Fri 09-Nov-12 16:47:52


gettingeasier Fri 09-Nov-12 16:48:39

Why would you be struggling to come to terms with it ? Or worry about it ?

Northernexile Fri 09-Nov-12 16:48:56

It's all that spam!

KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Fri 09-Nov-12 16:49:27


Its not that difficult to work out. The cheapest foods and the easiest foods to get hold of are high fat / high sugar and dense in calories. A lot of people have desk jobs, or work long hours making exercise difficult.

High calorie foods + no exercise = overweight.

Out of interest, I spent two weeks in France this summer. It was the first time I'd been in 10 years and I was surprised at how many overweight French I saw as it had changed a lot in 10 years.

I'm overweight. I have a desk job and eat too much chocolate.

crazygracieuk Fri 09-Nov-12 16:50:33

No Greggs in Europe?

rubberglove Fri 09-Nov-12 16:50:51

Wider yawn...

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 09-Nov-12 16:51:48

I blame the internet after all we wouldn't be wasting time on here we would be out jogging or some shit...

amarylisnightandday Fri 09-Nov-12 16:51:53

Yanbu. The city I'm in has a well publicised problem with obesity. There's fat everywhere I look if I venture in to town. Mind you going in to town is like running a gauntlet between KFC/McDonald's/bugler king/other mcshite.

lljkk Fri 09-Nov-12 16:55:15

1 in 6 people in Spain are obese.

14% of French,

Italian & Spanish children among the fattest in Europe.

Most of my Spanish friends smoke a lot. And few parents are SAHPs. Since eating is mostly a social event you don't get much chance to indulge if you work most days, according to the traditional culture. But that's changing, even in southern Europe.

donburi Fri 09-Nov-12 16:55:43

It's strange that some European friends came over to watch the Olympics in London this Summer. They were telling me about the delicious meals they had twice a day at one place at the Westfield Shopping mall and how they became addicted to the pies at this special restaurant. It turned out that they were talking about Greggs. I suggested that they might enquire into setting up a franchise in Europe if they became too desperate wink

BigCrisps Fri 09-Nov-12 16:58:40

It's my fault. I'm the cake fairy. I go round at night injecting everyone with key lime pie.

EuroShagmore Fri 09-Nov-12 16:59:38

Most European countries don't have much of a takeaway culture.

Most European countries don't (as you point out) rely as much on ready meals and snack foods.

Most European cultures don't have the "giggle biscuit" phenomenon (offer the chubby woman in the office a snack and you will invariably get the "oooo, I shouldn't, oh go on then, I am naughty" kind of response.

I always find my appetite drops massively when I'm somewhere hotter (obviously this doesn't apply to northern European countries).

I've also noticed that the French have got fatter since I lived there in the 90s.

motherinferior Fri 09-Nov-12 17:00:09

Socioeconomics. Presumably you were in the posh sightseeing bits.

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 09-Nov-12 17:02:29

Too much processed food and refined carbs.

Start reading about it apparently obesity started going up when healthy eating was promoted as lots of carbs and not much protein and fat. Also portion sizes are ludicrous. I am amazed when I go to US that there is anyone at all who is not overweight as (cheaper)restaurants regularily serve you meals that look to have 2000-3000 calories on one plate.

Fairylea Fri 09-Nov-12 17:03:02

I am getting fat because I don't like exercise, I enjoy biscuits and cakes and I don't really give a fig what I weigh as long as I'm not morbidly obese. I don't enjoy healthy foods minus the odd bit of veg and I don't like going out when it's cold which it often is in the UK. In the summer I walk everywhere. In the winter sod that I will have a cake thanks.

I suspect a lot of people think the same.

Spamspamspam Fri 09-Nov-12 17:05:35

Keema - do people not work long hours in Europe then? Also regarding the cheapest foods, most thrifty threads on here don't contain any mention of a ready meal or junk food - they all seem to be about cooking from scratch to make cheaper meals....

Euro - yes you are right about the takeaway culture, I hardly saw any takeaways this time round and thinking back to last year in Czech and Hungary can't recall seeing many there either.

EuroShagmore Fri 09-Nov-12 17:19:40

I think statistically we work the longest hours in Europe, spam. And because we tend not to live in our cities, many Brits have long commutes. That might also be part of it.

Spamspamspam Fri 09-Nov-12 17:21:25


Yes I generally follow a low carb diet since I started looking into the real reasons behind overweight/obesity and the misconceptions that came out of a study in the 70's about low fat/calorie counting and the sugar trap. Probably this is the true answer really - there isn't so much processed, sugary, carby food available that we have here.

motherinferior - not necessarily. I have been for work and whilst my offices are close to cities they are not generally in the posh sightseeing places.

Italy and Czech are the two recent ones but also been to Spain, Hungary, Poland and Russia in the last 2 years. I haven't been to France for a good 4 years and can't remember much from then.

Vaginald Fri 09-Nov-12 17:27:58

Obviously people are consuming more calories than they are using.


UncomfortableOne Fri 09-Nov-12 17:29:30

Dieting. Seriously - the more you diet, the more the weight goes on once you're off the diet - and your metabolism changes to retain weight more easily.

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 09-Nov-12 17:29:56

I to fairy feel the same.

weeblueberry Fri 09-Nov-12 17:30:51

Fattening food is often easier and cheaper to get (and prepare) than healthy food. So people buy it for convenience and cost.

Trills Fri 09-Nov-12 17:31:56

YABU to wonder.

Robert Crampton wrote a great piece in The Times (paywall so couldn't link it even if I found it) which basically wondered at the fact that we weren't all obese, when there is so much tasty food available so cheaply.

(yes, I know food prices have gone up)

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