Wednesday, May 18, 2005


One of the major differences between here and the US is frequency of obesity and the size of people in general. Whereas my weight was considered fairly normal in the US, I tend to be more on the big side here. This is probably more of a US issue than that Quebec is thinner than usual. The three times I returned to the US from living in France, it was the one thing that always stood out and was almost a bit surprising. Just getting off the plane, I immediately noticed the difference. The odd thing was when I was going to France that I did not remark that people were thinner.

Though now living here in Quebec, I do notice the difference in the people I see on the street day to day. I would go as far as saying that the difference is about 20 pounds. If you live in the US and imagine yourself minus twenty pounds, that's the difference. The opposite applies for people here in Quebec. Now there are the normal difference in each population. Suburbanites tend to be bigger than urbanites. People tend to gain weight as they grow older getting that beer belly or whathaveyou. People who go through major crisis sometimes gain weight. And sometimes it really is genetic, though I think many people are trying to use that as an excuse. Not that being overweight is the fault of that person, though measures can be taken.

The people I see that I have still not gotten used to are those with thighs as thin as my upper arm. It just seems unnatural, like they should have trouble walking or something. Thing is it's probably more natural, and maybe just genetic.

What are the reasons? Here's just a few. First the portions you get when you go out to eat are made for one person to eat. They don't give you enough for two meals as it is becoming the trend in the US. Also I am pretty sure there is no supersize here. Second, people seem to exercise more here. I don't think people run for exercise as much, but it seems like bicycles are everywhere. Though I don't know if they are making up for the lack of exercise over the winter. As far as diets, people seem to eat pretty much the same types of food as the US. Lastly, part of it can be genetic. French Canadians tend to be smaller that the rest of Canada from what I know. Or it could be just the dietary tradition.

Unfortunately, after two years here, I still have not followed along with the population and brought my weight down. Hopefully that will change.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you that the US has more obese or at least a heavier population than almost all other countries, at ones that i have visited. I noticed on my first trip to France how thin the nkles were of French women but i think that is genetic. Slavic nationalities tend to have larger lower legs for example.
But the real issue is the food portions in the US. Many Americans are more exercise conscious now. Its obvious seeing the vast number of people on the Chicago lake front. 30 years ago, no one was biking, blading, running or walking out there!

Anonymous said...

What would the difference be in kilos:)

Unknown said...

That would be about 10 kilos. Though after the original post, I am thinking the weight difference should be 10% to 15% instead of 20 lbs. The percentage goes up after about 150 kilos, 300lbs. The biggest observational difference is the very large people in the US. It is common to see extremely large people in the US whereas it is very rare elsewhere.

As far as exercise, I think the diffence from the past is that life has become so much easier. There is less exercise in our daily work, that we are finally compensating for it with exercise. Typing on a traditional typewriter was more work than today's keyboards. From my observations, it seems there are more people out exercising here than back home.

Unknown said...

Wow! Thank you David. Very insightful. I'll be sure to forget the plugs and remember that physical fitness is a positive thing.

Anonymous said...

I think there are lots of overweight people here in Montreal, but perhaps fewer morbidly obese people.