Reflections from Vienna, Austria – where are the fat people?

Obesity Campaign Poster

Obesity Campaign Poster (Photo credit: Pressbound)

Regular readers of this blog will know that Marilyn and I are wandering around Europe, heading for Cyprus eventually. For more information on our travels see Taking the Slow Road to Cyprus.

As I walk for hours in Vienna, Frankfurt or Prague, I keep coming back to the question:

Where are the fat people, like in Anglo-Saxon countries?

Of course, there are exceptions. Yesterday, we were travelling on the Vienna U-bahn (underground railway), and Marilyn commented after we got off:

Did you see the size of that man next to me – if he fell on me, he would have killed me!

The Vienna diet includes a liking very high calorie foods, like strudel, gateaux, cream, fried Vienna Schintzel etc., plus of course beer and wine.

On the streets, as a generalization, most people look fit and healthy, unlike say the UK, US, or Canada, where there are a large number of seriously over-weight people. To be candid, most Anglo-Saxon countries have an obesity crisis, in my view.

 At the local Italian restaurant last night in Vienna, with some hundred tables outside full of people, all eating pizza or pasta, enjoying a balmy Vienna evening, I noticed something really interesting – people were drinking alcohol very sparingly.

Obviously, at a simple scientific level, fat people represent the output of “calories out”, compared to “calories in”.  Marilyn believes that German/Austrian people must take exercise much more seriously and burn off more calories.

As the UK listens to the Queen’s Speech on the state opening of parliament, the Coalition will take another battering on the absence of growth policies and bungled reforms of the NHS from the media, with areas like the obesity crisis probably not getting a mention.

This blog is not anti fat people but is an attempt to stimulate debate about the social, economic and personal costs associated with seriously fat people in Anglo-Saxon countries.

Do you have a view on why Anglo-Saxon countries have a greater share of fat people than other countries, like say Germany, Austria or France?