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One of the really fun things about living in the Northern VA/Washington, D.C. area is the diversity of the population.  Our practice has patients from all over the country and the world.  I enjoy speaking with them about their cultures, customs, etc.

Obviously, different countries have different rates of obesity.  Some of the lowest obesity rates occur in Japan, Ethiopia, Korea Philippines, Thailand, Romania and Ukraine.  Unfortunately, the U.S ranks very high in the world obesity rate.  

There are clearly genetic issues involved with the various obesity rates amongst people.  However, there are also clearly cultural and environmental behavioral patterns that contribute as well.

I have asked patients from the lower obesity countries what they feel are differences between behavioral patterns here as opposed to their countries.  Some of the common answers include:

  • Much lower use of processed, microwavable foods
  • Many less fast food restaurants
  • Much more fish intake
  • Walking much more than driving
  • More “peer pressure” to conform to normal weight standards

Of those bullet points, I believe the use of processed foods may be the most significant culprit to our ever-increasing obesity rates here in the U.S.  We should all take a step back and perhaps incorporate these suggestions from people that come from countries where the obesity rates are far less.  

We are the greatest country in the world in many ways.  Our obesity rates are not one of them.  

Enjoy an oldie from Neil Diamond…Coming To America