Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Obesity and the Fastness of Food

Obesity and the Fastness of Food - Economix Blog -

An interesting graph of time spent eating per day vs. the national obesity rate.

What factors might explain the vast discrepancy in time and obesity rate between the U.S. and say, France?


  1. I guess I would be in the category as being obese. I know that I need to loose weight but it is hard to loose. I have lost some weight but I need to loose more. I think that the data from the New York Times report was alarming.

    Daphane Shultz

  2. Another interesting point is the way that New Zealand is such an outlier in the graph - while having eating periods similar to European and non-English speaking countries, but obesity rates up there with the other 'colonial' nations. Certainly food for thought...

  3. The factors in my perception may not be directly correlates with 'time eating' but the number of calories consumed during that time. It may take the average American about 5 minutes to eat a meal from McDonalds+ Dessert and take in 1700 calories. Then there is the vending machines in which are full of fatty foods--and someone may eat 500 to 100 calories out of those machines per day (honey bun or some type of pastry, chips, candy bar, and a soda.). Most Americans also skip breakfast which many times leads to unhealthy decisions later as they are crunched for time and need to satisfy the stomach.

    In france, the individuals have more of an opportunity to purchase fruit and vegetable from some street vendors, have healthy choices at restaraunts, and typically do not indulge in 'frankenfoods'(genetically modified foods, such as american corn and cookies, etc.). They also drink wine and foods cooked in olive oil rather than American 'animal fat (Lard)'.

    The choice of what one eats, how much, the proper way of eating, and live style may contribute to why the french are smaller than the americans.

  4. very good points rwillis.

    It is very important to note that U.S. residents don't eat "all the time". But when they eat, they consume an extremely large number of calories comparatively speaking.

    This speaks also to the "fast food" nature of U.S. culture. I suppose one argument (likely made by the fast food industry) is that the fast food industry supplies more calories per serving, thereby "helping" the average consumer get his/her calories in given the limited amount of time the consumer has. Thus the obesity problem would be on the shoulders of the consumer; for he/she has a choice of how much food to eat.