Why Are Europeans Thinner than Americans?

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Xenops
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Why Are Europeans Thinner than Americans?

Postby Xenops » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:09 pm

My apologies in advance if this topic comes out offensive: but as an American seeking to reach the European-thin ideal, I find this topic fascinating. You could say I'm slender by American standards, but not by European standards.

Here's a discussion on Quora that I thought was interesting: https://www.quora.com/Why-are-Europeans-thinner-than-Americans

Any thoughts? How is weight managed outside of the U.S. and Europe?
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Re: Why Are Europeans Thinner than Americans?

Postby DaveBee » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:20 pm

Xenops wrote:My apologies in advance if this topic comes out offensive: but as an American seeking to reach the European-thin ideal, I find this topic fascinating. You could say I'm slender by American standards, but not by European standards.

Here's a discussion on Quora that I thought was interesting: https://www.quora.com/Why-are-Europeans-thinner-than-Americans

Any thoughts? How is weight managed outside of the U.S. and Europe?
Isn't this just calories: larger portions and more sugary drinks?
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Re: Why Are Europeans Thinner than Americans?

Postby Xenops » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:35 pm

DaveBee wrote:
Xenops wrote:My apologies in advance if this topic comes out offensive: but as an American seeking to reach the European-thin ideal, I find this topic fascinating. You could say I'm slender by American standards, but not by European standards.

Here's a discussion on Quora that I thought was interesting: https://www.quora.com/Why-are-Europeans-thinner-than-Americans

Any thoughts? How is weight managed outside of the U.S. and Europe?
Isn't this just calories: larger portions and more sugary drinks?


That, and:

pre-made meals are the norm here,
we are not terribly active,
we snack a lot.
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Re: Why Are Europeans Thinner than Americans?

Postby DaveBee » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:41 pm

Xenops wrote:
DaveBee wrote:
Xenops wrote:My apologies in advance if this topic comes out offensive: but as an American seeking to reach the European-thin ideal, I find this topic fascinating. You could say I'm slender by American standards, but not by European standards.

Here's a discussion on Quora that I thought was interesting: https://www.quora.com/Why-are-Europeans-thinner-than-Americans

Any thoughts? How is weight managed outside of the U.S. and Europe?
Isn't this just calories: larger portions and more sugary drinks?


That, and:

pre-made meals are the norm here,
we are not terribly active,
we snack a lot.
Pre-made meals are very common in UK supermarkets too. But I think overall we get less for our money (not just when buying food items), and have a lower disposable income than USA citizens, so eat out less often.
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Re: Why Are Europeans Thinner than Americans?

Postby Xenops » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:47 pm

It is cheaper to make food from scratch, but I'm one of those rare people that do cook from scratch: most Americans, due to time constraints or laziness, or maybe just a lack of knowledge of how to cook, almost always buy pre-made meals, and cereal.
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Re: Why Are Europeans Thinner than Americans?

Postby whatiftheblog » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:55 pm

I think there's a series of very complex and intimately intertwined issues at play here. Europeans eat differently and they take more public transportation than the average American (larger US cities are typically more active/fitter largely for this reason), but they also have the huge benefit of a welfare state system where certain things are significantly more accessible because a publicly supported choice was made in this regard.

1. School cafeterias are supplied differently - more fresh food, more variety. Here's a fun fluffy overview: http://www.attn.com/stories/6085/school ... ted-states
2. Universal health coverage allows for more frequent doctor's visits, letting medical professional catch things like diabetes or PCOS faster and manage them more effectively, including through healthier diets; this is particularly important for lower-income individuals, and we've seen time and again in peer-reviewed studies that obesity is still very much linked to poverty for large segments of the population.
3. Universal health coverage + labor regulations + the ensemble of family/social support measures in place allow for more meals cooked at home, more vigilance over family health, and thus more attention to what is eaten and how
4. US restaurant portions are out of control. I live in a big city with a lot of chi-chi food offerings, which are supposed to serve smaller portions, and I've taken to just ordering off the appetizer menu because it's already a meal and a half. Took me years to realize this. A really nice lunch place by my work sells fantastic four-cheese mac for $3.95 as a side for their sandwich menu; that mac is itself a full dinner.

That's just a part of it. I do think it's an important question because it really speaks to how different societies are structured and what's important to them, and we could all use more cross-cultural understanding.
Last edited by whatiftheblog on Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why Are Europeans Thinner than Americans?

Postby Serpent » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:58 pm

From what I know, driving is a big factor. My acquaintance has lost quite a bit of weight just by walking as much as possible (in Moscow, which is still less walkable than many European cities).

As for the "standards", I think it's good if they're less restrictive. (for example, people who are struggling with an eating disorder and trying to *gain* weight are often complimented for being thin :?)
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Re: Why Are Europeans Thinner than Americans?

Postby Iversen » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:54 pm

What a weird thread!
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Re: Why Are Europeans Thinner than Americans?

Postby Ingaræð » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:10 pm

I'd say it comes down to lifestyle as a whole.

What you eat: your body will deal with a calorie of protein differently from a calorie of carbohydrates.
How much you move: an hour at the gym will not undo the effects of 7 hours sat at a desk.
When and how much you sleep.

I believe some Pacific nations are facing an increase in obesity and diabetes - I'm not sure why exactly. I think there's probably quite a gap between the amount of time a Westerner and anyone else has to spend walking in order to gather 'living necessities'. Thankfully, information is now spreading (from the US!) on how we can address this problem.

Also, the 'healthy' people I know all appear to have good waist-hip ratios. Perhaps that would be a better indicator than how 'thin' someone is.
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Re: Why Are Europeans Thinner than Americans?

Postby luke » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:35 pm

In the US, the FDA is in collusion with Big Food and they care more about Big Profits than anything else, including science and health.
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