We're sorry to report that a tragedy has occurred in France, leaving dieters across the globe shaken and confused. French women, whose inability to gain an ounce has been studied by hundreds of diet books, are gaining weight. And as you might expect, Americans are partially to blame.
For years the French have have been the bane of the American dieter's existence. We've been told that thanks to their patented blend of je ne sais quoi, every last person in France is able to stay slim while eating plenty of baguettes, cheeses, and pastries. But now this absurd stereotype has been disproven by reports that the obesity rate in France has climbed to 14%, up from 8% a decade ago. Obesity specialist Dr. Jean Marc Catheline tells NPR that while this is still low compared to the U.S. and the rest of Europe, the numbers are higher in rural areas and among the poor. "There are some places in France where obesity levels are as high as in the U.S., like in poor, immigrant communities. So as we watch U.S. rates rise, this is extremely worrying for us," he says.
According to Catheline, the "secret" behind France's relatively low obesity rate is that they respect mealtimes, appreciate high-quality foods, and cook for themselves. (You might owe him $24.95 now). However, these cultural traditions are breaking down due to urbanization, immigration, and globalization. It's becoming more common to snack between meals and the younger generation is less interested in learning to cook. Random French person Bertrand Dubois also points a finger at your friend the TV:
"We're copying what we see on American television shows ... Now we think we have to do things we never did before, like open our refrigerator as soon as we walk in our front door, no matter the time of day."
The French government is already trying to tackle the growing obesity problem by issuing PSAs and removing vending machines from school. If that doesn't work, we Americans have compiled quite a bit of information on ostensibly French-endorsed fad diets, from the Dukan Diet to Le Forking, and would be happy to send them back from whence they came.