Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Fattest Nation on Earth

A couple weeks ago, I was in Orlando on business. I stayed in an expensive hotel on Disney property and took our business partners to dinner at an even more expensive Disney hotel. At both these hotels, we had occasion to visit the pool areas.

You know how in the movies, everyone by the pool is beautiful? How the men are gorgeous and the women are muscular? Well, real life at Disney is nothing like that. Poolside at Disney looks more like a convention of pears, grapes, and eggplants, but nobody's wearing a costume. Makes you wish they were.
No wonder people go to the Internet when they want to see beautiful people.

The Wall Street Journal recently quoted World Health Organization statistics, which show the following estimated obesity rates for people aged 15 years and over ("obese" = BMI >30):
  • Japan 1.6%
  • China 1.7%
  • France 7.2%
  • Germany 20.7%
  • U.K. 22.9%
  • U.S. 39.2% We're #1! We're #1!

American dominance is always comforting, but aside from American superiority, what conclusions can we draw from these statistics?

  • Speaking English makes you fat. It's probably because of all the lazy vowels (which, in the U.S., are worst in the South, and that's where the fattest people are).

  • Speaking Asian languages makes you skinny, because it takes a lot of energy to speak such difficult languages.

You can't really disagree with this. Statistics don't lie.


  1. i think part of it is because Southern food is way too good and not heathly for you. Fried fish, fried shrimp, fried chicken, french fries, fried oakra, gravy on anything, cheese on anything, incredible BarBaque Pork and have you ever had a real biscuit cooked by a real southern woman...WOW. The culture in the south is also hugely based on socializing over big meals...not to mention tons of people that just like to over gorge themselves(trust me, i've witnessed it)who really needs a double 1/2lb burger?...portion size i hear is a big contributer over all.

  2. I totally agree, Gene. But I also think taste buds are (re)trainable. And portion size is largely a discipline issue (plus, the simple education issue of learning you don't need as many calories once you get beyond adolescence).

  3. Hmmm, Arnold, your arguement is compelling. But, I think that you might be wrong. The problem with statistics and numbers is that you can't rely on them to tell the whole story.

    Besides, I don't think that anyone will learn Japanese because it will make them thinner.

    I take it that very few of the obese vacationers that you saw in Florida were actually swimming in that pool in such a way that it would make losing weight a possibility.

    Thanks for the great article--I wasn't going to go swimming today because I came down with a cold. But now, after your blog, I feel better already.

  4. this cracks me up, classic anrold.