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Do Europeans eat better than Americans?

I'm curious what the European or European-based PT community members think about this. Is there a greater level of nutritional knowledge among Europeans?

Sun. Feb 11, 9:38am

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I'm not sure if we eat better, however I do think we eat much smaller portions. Also , I think we just get more exercise without realizing it by walking more than people in the U.S.

Sunday, February 11, 2007, 10:46 AM

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Just returned from a trip to Ireland/England and I couldn't help but notice the difference in people. I think we have just gotten so use to being big here , that in a way we don't even notice it anymore. So, it was a weird thing to suddenly notice that everyone seemed slender. I hate to say it , but it made me realize why people might view America as the land of fat people (myself included ! ugh !) Agree with other comment , people don't seem to eat as much and walk more !

Sunday, February 11, 2007, 10:58 AM

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I have lived in three European countries and have lived outside of the US for over four years. I have to say, it really depends where you are. "Europe" is a broad term encompassing more people than the United States and over thirty countries, each with its own traditions. Where I live now I can honestly say has horrible eating habits. Bacon for breakfast, meat/potatoes the rest of the time. Lots of candy and chocolate. One of my friends specifies when he goes out to eat, "no vegetables." When I much on something raw, I get a bit of a look. The difference is, people here of all generations are obsessed with sport, be it walking, competitive, whatever. No one's on their duff.

My experience in other countries, is that there is a MUCH greater appreciation for quality food than America (generally speaking. I know some of you are connoisseurs). You want meat? You go to the butcher's. You want bread? You go to a bakery. And these people take pride in their work. Dinner is savoured and spent with family and friends AT THE TABLE. Familes tend to do activities together as opposed to renting a DVD, etc. The healthcare system is generally aimed at prevention and is lifestyle oriented. 5 -6 weeks of vacation per year is the norm and there are more federal holidays. (Not a wonderland. Obviously this means higher taxes, but I've always been more than happy to pay up.)

The point is, in some of the countries I've lived in, there is a much higher emphasis on quality of life and lifestyle than I experinced in the US. This is of course just an overall picture. And yes, there ARE fat women in France.

Sunday, February 11, 2007, 11:43 AM

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My experience of living in the UK throughout most of the 90s...the people were of normal weight to ~40 lbs overweight. They eat abominably, they don't exercise, they're all alcoholics by our standards -- and they tend to develop all kinds of heart disease. Strangely, this surprises them.

When I lived in Spain -- now that was a much healthier approach to eating (but they all smoked like chimneys). It was definitely all about quality and not quantity, hardly any processed or frozen foods, and no fast food. I believe they have less of a need for these things because everyone lives with their parents until they get married, and mothers/wives are still largely "traditional" - or at least they were in the region where I was living.

Sunday, February 11, 2007, 1:37 PM

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I live in Israel and I can say easily that on average Israelis are much slimmer than Americans though unfortunately they are catching up to Americans in the weight and fast food dept. Nonetheless, Israelis still eat many more fresh vegetables and salads than Americans and I do think that overall the eating habits are much better here than in the USA.

Being physically active is still common here. Hiking, biking, walking, swimming are all very common. The beach is close to many people, thanks to the long beautiful coast line. Several co-workers bike to our office, a couple walk (reasonable distances), and many walk up the stairs to our 4th floor office.

Sunday, February 11, 2007, 2:43 PM

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