MisssyM, a UK blogger, did a post recently on obesity and who or what is to blame. At one point she says:
… I never really saw horrendously morbidly obese people until I worked in New Orleans in 1990. I was shocked and horrified at how human beings could morph into the size these people were. I genuinely had never seen people who looked like that before. And I live in Scotland home of the sliced sausage and the deep fried pizza!
This twigged dozens of comments (she has a hefty UK readership base), about similar experiences while visiting North America:
…I have to agree with the US portions thing. When one of us ordered Lasagna in Las Vegas, it was immense. Huge. We thought we’d accidentally ordered for all 6 of us.
…Re Americans eating huge amounts. I think it is just a part of their psychology – everything has to be bigger and they always expect the biggest. Like many drive Mini Vans and SUVS. Also the idea of a ‘normal’ house is four or five times what we would have in the UK, it is ‘normal’ to have a triple garage and also to have a bathroom for every bedroom (why??) – The average American uses six times the world average amount of energy! And then they use environmentally friendly light bulbs to ‘save energy’…right!
…Americans these days wouldn’t recognize real food if they saw it! They are addicted to the substances added to fast foods and they literally live to eat
…When I visited the States last year, I was shocked at the poor quality of food in restaurants! And these people love it! They lap it up!
…Every occasion in the USA is an opportunity to pig out. Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate, Superbowl is spicy chicken wings and beer, St. Patrick’s Day is green beer, corned beef and potatoes, Easter is lamb and chocolate, Independence Day is barbeque, summer is for ice cream, Halloween is tons of candy, Thanksgiving is turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas is cookies, chocolate, cake, eggnog, turkey, pudding, etc. And the eating is not restricted to the day in question; it can start two weeks before the event and continue for two weeks after.
…The portions are huge and so are the patrons. The two of us would have struggled to finish one plateful, never mind the side salads.
… The reason why the problem with obesity is so incredibly bad in the U.S. is that they have a completely different view on food (and a lot of other stuff). Quantity is valued more than quality.
I found these comments so extremely interesting; I had to copy them here. We don’t even think about our penchant for quantity over quality anymore. (And Canada is not so different from the US on this). It all seems normal. We think it’s our god-given right to own a 4,000++++ sq. ft. home with a 3-car garage filled with 2 SUVs and a mountain of stuff we’ve bought, but don’t use.
In the 1950s the average North American home was less than 1000 square feet and our families were bigger. Less than 10% of the population was obese compared to 64.5% today. (Sixty-four point five!!! And not just overweight, but obese! That’s horrifying!) Our grocery stores used to be the size that our convenience stores are today. Now our grocery stores take up a few city blocks.
We get insanely angry when gas prices creep up a bit even though they’re still a fraction of what most of the rest of the world is paying. And we use 80% of the world’s natural resources, although we represent only 16% of the world’s population.
We’re all crying the blues now because the economy is taking a nose-dive — which has almost everything to do with the fact that we’re greedy, gluttonous hyper-consumer pigs who buy, buy, buy even if we have to borrow, borrow, borrow to pay for all our stuff.
We’re gnashing our teeth because our dollars don’t stretch as far as they used to and we have to work more to make ends meet. That’s because our ends are so damn wide and our dollars have to stretch to so much crap — a TV in every room, electronic gadgets in every hand, the latest, the greatest, the biggest and the most ostentatious of everything.
Meanwhile, two in three people worldwide lack access to clean water and survive on less than $2 a day.