Obesity rates in the US vs Europe [OC]

  1. Also thinner than the vast majority of European countries in this map today. What changed so drastically in 30 years? Is it just fast food?

  2. Match that up with corporate ownership of food production. You will see how corporations have taken full control over the food supply and have cheapened the nutritional value of everything in the name of profits.

  3. Holy shit, I thought those were two different color codes but it's just that the obesity rates are so drastically higher that none of the colors are the same...

  4. Midwesterner checking in. I remember my first time to Colorado actually noticing that I was larger than most people, but after my return flight I looked around feeling like I was Matthew McConaughey.

  5. Yes! I live in CO, and as a woman who wears a size 10/12, I am almost always the largest in any of my friend groups. When I go visit my home state of NE, I am a friggin' gazelle. I'm in the middle of losing weight, and my family back home is always like, "why??? You're going to be a little stick!"

  6. Yeah I'm 6 ft and about 220 and I feel huge compared to most of my friends. Just started hitting the gym religiously 2 weeks ago tho so that's going to change lol

  7. This is intersting to me. I moved from KY to CO, and one thing I noticed very different was the amount of people who biked, hiked, and just in general out more or doing stuff than in KY. I also was kind of picked on or joked about for starving etc in KY from time to time but actually felt a little puggy when I first moved here 😂

  8. There was this one Publix I went to in central Florida, and I swear like 50% of people were riding those scooters because they were too heavy to walk. It was astonishing.

  9. As a small person, I had a different experience even when I went abroad. When I went to Romania and tried on some dresses, they were size large. Now I get large there is smaller than large here but whoa. I'm 5'2'' and like 100 pounds. I'm tiny. Compared to a lot of Romanian girls I saw, I was still kind of small in both height and weight. So... is the average clothing size there considered like an XL? Like is what is considered XL in Romania their version of our M? Needless to say it was really interesting, as I figured their average size that might be like our S would be labeled as M, not *XL*.

  10. Walking is nice tbh, I wouldn’t even mind walking to nearby places if it wasn’t for me having to play frogger irl if I did try

  11. Same, lived in the Netherlands for a year and lost 40 lbs without trying. Wasn't even eating that healthily (so many sandwiches), but walking and biking every single day, plus smaller portions, made such a big difference.

  12. I'm currently in austria as an exchange student and that sounds about right. I'm walking and using public transport everywhere and absolutely don't see the same levels of obesity as what I see in the US

  13. The walking is such a big part of it. I lost 10 pounds just by being in Spain for 3 weeks with no car. There is a market on every block and you walk and take the bus everywhere. I honestly didn’t even eat that healthy.

  14. When I as a European am visiting the USA, the pervasiveness of fast food in supermarkets is just mind boggling. It is easy and cheap to buy something unhealthy like sugared and salted ultra processed foods (like burgers for 1 dollar), but just buying fresh fruit or vegetables is relatively expensive (apples were 5x the price I was used to pay at home for example, broccoli was 4x the price). That is dictating food choices people make ofcourse. Also: when eating out, portions are just waaaay too big for me. I can order something Americans consider a snack and use it as a meal. Seriously.

  15. I walk most places in my city in the US; it's nice for other reasons but when I started doing that it didn't affect my weight at all. Our food and eating habits are definitely the bigger issue, everything has an obscene amount of sugar and artificial oil, you have to go out of your way to avoid it, and culturally we eat throughout the day instead of having, say, a large lunch and light dinner like you're describing.

  16. Last time I was in Disney Land, I could swear the obesity rate was 90%. It was like visiting World 4 in Super Mario 3.

  17. Yeah my thought exactly. Every time I go to theme park at almost all adults there are obese. If you exclude teens and kids, it’s even more striking. Last time I couldn’t find a XL size tshirt at gift store, I just had to look around to see why.

  18. I call it the iconic Disneyland waddle. That and those long sleeve shirts that say Disneyland resort on the back (Black, or Black with cheeta print arms) that for some reason obese people love.

  19. Disneyland had to shutdown it’s a small world to dig out the waterways because the boats kept bottoming out due to the weight of the people on the ride.

  20. Holy shit. I’ve been to Disneyland many times in my life but when I went a few months ago my jaw dropped. The amount of obese people there was astounding.

  21. Yeah how is 15-20% the low category... Feeling it would not be the case if you have the rest of the world in this.

  22. I lived in Venezuela as a child. My diet was very healthy, we had virtually no access to junk food (they sold it in stores, but my mom never bought it). Meals were made fresh 3 times daily. Breakfast was usually toast and eggs, Kellogg cereal, or oatmeal. Sometimes we’d have arepas. Lunch and dinner might be homemade soups and salad, or meat and rice and plantains. We didn’t have internet or cable or video games and we played outside a lot,

  23. I don't blame Americans. Fast food can be so addictive, not to mention if it's cheap as well. Here in Argentina the American burger chains are more expensive, not saying they aren't popular, but it's not an everyday thing for the most part. People usually cook their food during the week and at weekends would eat a heavier meal like local pizza, empanadas, lomitos (typical local Argentinian beef sandwich) or barbecue and, why not not a burger. Personally I'm slim because I force myself to eat healthy, water, limit sugar consumption and if it's cheaper, why not? I want to live a long and healthy life. I admit some months ago I kinda became a bit lazy and started ordering food everyday like pizza, burguers, lomitos, I gained weight and felt my stomach heavy all the time so I QUIT. So now I'm only eating heavy food once a week (on weekends). Eating healthy makes me feel better, I feel lighter, I feel I'm doing the right thing, my skin is prettier, I feel more attractive, I enjoy healthy food, fresh fruits, but I admit I love fast food and chocolates. When I start eating junk food it's difficult to stop so I force myself only to eat it once or twice a week.

  24. Nothing you wrote in your comment explains why there is a difference between America and Europe. In Europe there are also video games and internet, in Europe there are plenty of stores selling unhealthy sweet food, and in Europe people also eat lasagna and casseroles.

  25. When I was in med school remember seeing a graphic that an obesity researcher displayed of obesity in 1990 and in 2000. Colorado has always been the least obese state. But Colorado in 2000 would have been the most obese state in 1990. And the same is true from 2010 compared to 2000. The obesity rates in the US have grown ridiculously.

  26. The biggest thing is likely lack of physical activity. If you were an adult in 1990, you likely spent most of your childhood running around outside because inside was boring. You probably also didn't binge watch tv shows for 6 hours. A lot of social activities were also physical activity. Everyone adult I knew played sports sometimes even if they sucked. I remember teaching my mom how to play baseball at like 12 because the local pub needed an extra woman on their softball team. It was beer league softball but you drank beer while exercising.

  27. I see this a lot but 20-25% in Europe is nothing to brag about. 30 years ago even the US had an average obesity rate of under 15%. This map shows varying degrees of failure and not a European success story.

  28. Yes! That’s the most depressing part here. No one is shocked to see USA obesity off the charts pretty much universally but to see the numbers for much of Europe really puts in perspective just how fat and unhealthy the world has become. And it’s getting much worse at faster rates.

  29. I believe I've heard a lot of Europe and the UK is on track to pass the US in obesity in the next few years, it's a growing problem that rapidly there, correct me if I'm wrong.

  30. I lived in Colorado most of my life and always wondered as a kid where the “Americans are fat” idea came from until I went out of state.

  31. Coloradan here…Texas was eye opening for me. Even on walking trails in Texas, arguably the fittest area in Texas, almost everyone is overweight or obese. It’s another world.

  32. I'm from MA and grew up in a smaller town where most of the girls I went to high school with were mostly 5'3-5'8 and around 100 - 110 lbs, if that, which definitely fucked my body image up (was 5'6 and 130 lbs when I graduated). Went to college and a girl in one of my classes freshman year had to be at least 400 lbs. Definitely some culture shock.

  33. Meals are mostly from the time that most Turks were farmers so the heavy labour was common. Right now we eat the same dishes while we're working mostly our 9-5 office jobs. There is a considerable amount of people who works labour intensive jobs compared to other industrialised countries however its getting lesser. Physical activities are also relatively low to compensate this calorie bomb that's called Turkish cuisine.

  34. Seriously. A few jokes here about Turkey. But really, do we have a working theory on the huge difference?

  35. Going the other way is just as strange, visiting the US for the first time can be an absolute culture shock. When you see the first truly round person in one of those mobility scooter things because their own legs cant sustain them youll just write off as some medical rarity, however you quickly learn that there's nothing rare about it..... Where i live in the Netherlands you see people like that too sometimes but how incredibly normalized it seems in the US is just so weird. Even places where most 'fit' people seem to gather have more obese people than the worst places ive ever seen in europe (including beer festivals in germany).

  36. This! When I moved back to Europe (Barcelona) after 20 years of living in the US (CA) i noticed something was different when walking around the streets that I couldn’t quite put my finger on for a few weeks. Then it suddenly hit me. I haven’t come across a single obese person. Not one. Sure, not everyone has an athletic body but there just aren’t any people that would require an electrified shopping card to go grocery shopping.

  37. Sometimes I feel like we need a term for beyond obese. Because those beer guts will qualify you for being obese but when people are thinking of American obesity it’s more often the my 700 lb life type people

  38. What I sometimes wonder: if it’s really that bad with obesity rates in America, and considering that a majority of movies and TV shows we get here in Europe are American made and people in there still look normal, must that not be super strange for people in the US? I mean doesn’t it have to feel like you’re watching a parallel universe where people still look normal when turning on the TV?

  39. Eh, I didn’t notice a difference between the people living here in the states and the people in England. The other countries sure, but England’s fat as fuck.

  40. From the "I walk around in the city- perspective 25% is less than i expected, so im positive surprised,but wtf turkey?

  41. Why is Rhode Island so high? I say this as a person who used to live in Rhode Island and knows for a fact that there are a lot of overweight and obese people but in comparison to its surrounding, I'm surprised. Maybe not too much at New York for obvious reasons but the others yes. I thought it would it would be about the same.

  42. I (American) los a ton of weigh when I moved to Germany. I attribute it mostly to walking everywhere (I was walking 15-20 miles a week instead of 2-5), but I think my diet was a bit better also.

  43. Diet is 95% of those two though, maybe even more. Having lived in three different European countries and four US states, it doesn't matter how much walking you do when you eat so much worse and so much more. We tend to eat way worse here (even when we think we're eating "healthy") and the portion sizes here are so much bigger.

  44. Europeans don't seem to snack as much as the Americans. That's one of the biggest differences I've noticed between the two places - the concept of street either doesn't exist in Europe or it's something very different from what other countries have.

  45. it also seems to me that american's much more often don't really stop what they are doing to eat. and instead just keep driving/working/doing whatever.. while eating. that way of eating really invites eating less healthy, as this is a lot easier to do with unhealthy food. this is just the impression of a european who has never been outside of europe though.

  46. Why do the highly conservative areas in the US seem to have much higher obesity rates (on average)? Clearly there are some exceptions (like Utah, Wyoming, and Montana), but it looks a lot like a presidential election map in some ways with the dark purple states (generally) highly conservative.

  47. I live in Montana, and Utah, Wyoming & Montana have lots of things to do outdoors—guessing people here get more movement/exercise to help counteract a poor diet

  48. People haven’t mentioned culture enough, which is a HUGE factor. My highschool friend went to a college in Louisiana. She wasn’t super skinny or anything, but she got a lot of “you need more meat on your bones” comments.

  49. Conservatives refuse to ever accept that they are wrong about anything. Educated “liberal elites” like doctors and nutritionists say you should eat more vegetables and fewer French fries? No, I know better than them! It worked for grandpa and it’s gonna work for me!

  50. There is no end to the statistical trends of deep red states that lend them to higher rates of most diseases, especially obesity: higher poverty rates, healthcare that is less funded, lower quality, and more discriminatory, poorer nutritional education and education in general, size and prevalence of food deserts, etc.

  51. This is why I think its important to separate body positivity (good!) from being obese (bad!). We need to be able to have the conversations and proactive nature to tackle difficult topics like obesity at a personal and public (is that the right word?) level.

  52. I think body positivity needs to be totally changed from its current nuance which is "you are perfect the way you are and should never change" to "you shouldn't wait until you're skinny/muscular/etc to love your body/dress how you want/etc". Shame is a shitty motivator and most people who are morbidly obese don't even know how they got where they are and don't know the right steps to reverse it.

  53. Older population in Florida, and Bill Maher said the other day there’s a reason why we don’t see fat 90 year olds.

  54. I found it surprising that Italy, known for its hearty cuisine, was on the lower end. Either they’re more careful with their carbs/portions or what we regard as “Italian food” is really the Americanized version, similar to what was done with Chinese fare.

  55. Italian here, what I see all around me is that in general we are very mindful of what we eat, usually cook our meals from raw ingredients (with lots and lots of veggies) and fast food/processed food is for the occasional guilty pleasure - if not actively frowned upon. From the outside it doesn't look like it, but our day-to-day cuisine is made up of very simple recipes with very light condiments. For example, "salad" to us, unless otherwise specified, is lettuce with olive oil, vinegar and salt.

  56. Italian food in the US is nothing like real italian food. Real Italian food has a lot less sugar, fat and "additives". It's just fresh vegetables with a bit of olive oil and spices.

  57. Carbs are fine, they are the core of the Mediterranean diet. The problems arise when people serve pasta with too much condiments, cheese, red meat and God knows what else.

  58. There is no singular macro that's the enemy, both Italy and half of Asia eat carbs (pasta, rice) for most of their meals. But it's in moderation, in a diet that's also full of vegetables and lean protein, and there's a lot more physical activity in those cultures as well.

  59. Italian here, I'd say the latter. Every single time I've been invited in a place where "they serve italian food" by colleagues in the USA I got things you would find nowhere in Italy. Things are of course changing now because of the times but generally speaking we are obsessed with "the quality" of the food and the base ingredients rather than "the amount" of the things we eat. Give me a "mozzarella di bufala", a fresh, big, red tomato, good olive oil, green olives, Taggiasche olives, fresh basil, origan and some bread and I'm happy.

  60. I can't walk anywhere even if I want to. My home is in suburban hell, my work is in corporate hell. I go shopping and it's at retail hell.

  61. I was in Georgia a little while ago, and I saw a woman whose leg was the size of my torso. Also saw a disturbing amount of fat people ridding in little carts.

  62. Looks like the folks in the US are doing all the hard work and having all the heart attacks! Nice to see Turkey trying. (lol)

  63. What helps explain the difference even better is the near total lack of public transportation in US outside of major cities, and our reliance on cars. People are made to walk. We literally don't walk.

  64. You are mostly right. But even way up north, beyond the arctic circle many of us walks. Blizzards? They just make sure you wake up in the morning.

  65. I'm seeing obesity in ireland I saw in the US when I lived there thirty years ago. The big change in Ireland is probably the sprawl of the suburbs and the increased car dependency meaning less exercise.

  66. I live in Colorado, the state with the lowest obesity rate in the US. One of the biggest differences that I've noticed when traveling to other states, is that the weather here is very conducive to activities. We have sunshine, low humidity, mountains, bike paths, and everyone is very active throughout the entire year (skiing, hiking, climbing, biking) People seem to partake in healthy whole foods and keeping up on water intake is huge. When I traveled to the Midwest, the airport in Chicago was mostly comprised of bars and long tables for beer. I couldn't find a single free refill water station (they are everywhere here). I think the culture of the state is just very different... Super outdoorsy activities that are just a way of life.

  67. one of the main reasons is because the US Federal government subsidizes corn, which makes it super cheap to produce and include High Fructose Corn Syrup into everything Americans eat, which our bodies are not able to process properly

  68. After moving to Colorado I lost 100lbs. This checks out. When people back home ask me why I like it here I always mention that it’s nice is not having fat people everywhere.

  69. There is no discussion about the action of insulin and sugar creating body fat when discussing diet in the US. Most people still think they will get fat from eating fat which is metabolized rather than being stored as body fat. The US sugar industry is as evil as the Tobacco industry was and they try to blame the meat industry for the problems created by sugar.

  70. Over 40% of the entire US population shows signs of early diabetes. If things don't change soon, their health crisis is going to get much worse.

  71. Portion control is a thing. If you eat out, you’re almost always overeating if you finish the portions doled out in restaurants and fast food establishments. Using a calorie counter was the ticket to understanding this, for me. Many years ago i wanted to drop some weight. Just recording what I was taking in was eye opening, and I’m a fairly average sized person who doesn’t eat much fast food (only pizza on occasion) and who’s been pescatarian for decades.

  72. I think it’s appropriate to understand why people have such a hard time eating healthy. Like other people mentioned in this thread, the level of obesity is highly correlated with socioeconomic status and I suspect that if we broke this down to a county level that would be even more prominent. We have food deserts in the US where in poor areas there’s literally not much healthy food even in grocery stores. Imagine being a single mother with two kids, on the poverty line in a rural state where you have to work 2-3 jobs just to survive. You have no time or the mental capacity to exercise or eat right because you don’t have the time to go to the grocery store or cook a meal for your kids so you take them through the drive thru at McDonald’s in 5 minutes for $5/kid. Then those kids grow up obese, are born with a food addiction and no idea how to live a healthy lifestyle. They’ll probably end up just like their mom, working 2-3 jobs just to survive. They live in a poor area so they have a worse education and worse school-lunch options. Even stress hormones cause the body to hold onto excess weight. It’s definitely a cycle and knowing what the risk factors are can help us know how to mitigate the problem.

  73. Thank you! It's insane to see these comments in here blaming everything except the portions! The portions in the USA are INSANE. You can still eat garbage sugary processed food as long as you don't eat a fucking truckload of it. You will feel like shit but at least you won't be obese.

  74. Kinda right but also kinda wrong. On the idividual level that is true and nearly everyone has the choice to eat more healthy and lose weight. However the reality today is, that staying healthy and fit is an effort of going against our culture, habits and everything around us. The food industry, the workplace, the eating culture, everything. Our bodies and minds are played like a fiddle by all the processed food we are confronted with daily and we lose all sense of natural eating as well living a life where phsyical activity is barely necessary. Maybe if more than half the population is overweight we have to stop thinking that the average human is capable of fighting this fight against our society. Maybe if more than half the population is overweight we realize that we cannot just go ahead and pretend like it is a free choice anymore.

  75. Whenever I visit the US I can never get to desert. The main meal portion is so large that I never get to it before I am full. Often I don't even order an appetiser because I might not be able to finish my main course.

  76. There are a few factors, and that's one of them. Refined sugar in general. The sugar lobby fucked the US big time. Europeans also tend to do a lot more walking and biking due to how their cities are laid out, versus everything being so car centric in the US.

  77. Thus far this year I've met 2 registered dieticians who *obviously* qualify as obese in one of the US 25-30% states. This includes a so-called 'in-house health coach' at work.

  78. Kinda related, I remember watching a show about obesity in Mexico and lack of education was definitely there. They interviewed people who honestly did not realize that drinking 2 liters of Coke a day was contributing to their obesity. They thought it was only food that made you fat, not drinks.

  79. Missouri is straight up LYING on their data output. Lived there from 1970 to 2008, and then moved just across the state line to present day. People are fat as fuck there.

  80. I’m very curious what factors contribute to Missouri being decently less obese than the rest of the Midwest. I wouldn’t have guessed it

  81. I have a hard time believing that about turkey. I’m in turkey right now and I hardly see any obese people. People are really active and the food is mostly organic and fresh

  82. I watch a lot of English soccer. And based on my analysis, 95% of their fans are obese and 100% of them have shitty teeth.

  83. We better start changing our habits as human beings as we continue to let corruption scam us out of our health, they would shove everyone know pharmaceutical, No checks And balance of power on this Industry, that will end up killing us all

  84. This explains why when I went to Italy from the UK on holiday I was shocked at how people are so skinny. I'm overweight but not obese and did really feel like a whale.

  85. I spent the summer and europe and dropped 20 pounds while eating like a king, we put so much shit in our food it’s so hard to stay healthy

  86. I am no longer on the US obesity list as of a couple of months ago. I am happy about that but wanted to know if all these other countries use the same obesity scale/comparison?

  87. I was born this way! It’s in my genes. Also it’s 2 AM and I am eating chocolatey cereal in bed. Damn genetics.

  88. The sad thing about the state driven one is I remember when Colorado became the last state to hit 20% and it wasn't all that long ago, and it's already at 23.8%, so a 19% increase in just a few years.

  89. Missouri is wrong on your map. Almost 35% obese. Anyone who has been to Missouri would be suspicious looking at your map.

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