Why are Americans Fatter than Europeans?

So, no newsflash here and definitely a generalisation, but Europeans seem on a physical level, substantially less, well… substantial, than we westerners.

Fat American (stereotype)

Recently after an afternoon of exhaustive research sitting in a cafe in Poland, I discovered the answer. It comes in three parts.

Eat slowly. Sit, relax! European cafes and restaurants are welcoming, comfortable, and never painted in that shade of orange, suggested by psychologists to be used only in McDonalds’ (to get people in and out as fast as possible without them knowing exactly why) and for psychological torture upon certain prison inmates. Every European meal should be accompanied by wine or beer, and last around four hours.

Enjoy your pizza! Have it thin, the traditional way, with far less cheese and exponentially more grass clippings… for some reason.

Not bad actually!

Move Quickly. When Europeans aren’t sitting and relaxing, they tend to move with purpose, probably to get to the next cafe on time. They may bound up flights of stairs as if on fire, before striding on once more. Bicycles are also a thing.

European parking lot, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

…and perhaps most importantly

Chain smoke. As any doctor from the 1940’s will tell you, smoking cures pretty much every ailment, relieves stress and alleviates excess pain of childbirth by creating small babies.

Six hundred million Europeans can’t be wrong!
Photo: Mark Sebastian

So, there you have it. Eat, drink and smoke in good health… European style.

By the way… to my American friends (just so you know), yours is not the most obese nation in the world, according to any lists published lately. This one puts you at number 10, after a quite a few middle eastern nations.


  1. Sad but true — we’re not even #1 at being fat anymore! I remember a friend and I walking past the McDonald’s near the opera house in Muscat a few years back, and we each had to do a double-take on one gentleman we saw inside, getting his Mickey-Ds fix. His dishdasha looked suspiciously like a repurposed king-sized bed sheet.

    • Yeah, I saw this list somewhere else. There are so many… all different and none definitive. It’s true that the South Pacific ranks very highly. This list though is not of countries. Number one for example (American Samoa) is an unincorporated territory of the United States.

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