Americans... BIG ?
But frankly, you don’t need them to see it, it is striking if you come from aboard and start looking around. What is particularly striking is that the very obese are huge – absolutely humongous.
The numbers are outrageous :
More than 60% of all adults in the United States are now medically overweight, and nearly 30% [34%]of those same adults are now obese, and just under 6% are "extremely" obese. (figures by the National Center for Health Statistics - here, here and CDC)
Keith Devlin, the “math guy” on NPR had an interesting (yet short) exposé on as to why the body mass index is unreliable - simply because it ignores the waist or the density.
It makes sense to me because the average American is not only fatter but also bigger than, say, the average French or Belgian (The BMI was invented by a Belgian mathematician in the early 19th century). When I say bigger, I really mean “bigger” as in bigger bones and bigger muscles. The fact that many people also do intensive sports means that those (few) who are in good shape are often very muscular and impressively large – and not just the men but some of the women too.
One last note is that in my observation, people in New York city seem to be in better shape than in the rest of the country. That’s probably because they take the public transit and walk around a lot more.