France's New Battle of the Bulge

More

Our image of France rarely includes obesity. We hardly imagine that, year by year, France has grown fatter—and has responded accordingly, GlobalPost reports. In 2009, 14.5 percent of French adults were obese; in 1997, only 8.5 percent qualified. Each year brings an average of 250,000 more French people who are considered obese. One nutritionist said France's obesity epidemic is about 20 years behind that of the United States.

In response, the French government has implemented several changes, including a new school initiative entitled "Morning Classes, Afternoon Sports," set to take place in various schools this fall. The results seem promising:

The country's early adoption of a proactive approach is credited with some successes. Since 2001, Basdevant said, France has had an established National Health and Nutrition Program, a Ministry of Health initiative that has included obesity prevention.

In 2004, when health officials found that the percentage of overweight young people had climbed to 17 percent in 20 years, the government responded by removing all soda and snack machines from the 20 percent of middle schools and 50 percent of high schools that carried them.

The national health program is credited with stabilizing weight gain and obesity in children, improving the amount of fruit and vegetables consumed by adults and helping to reduce the population's salt intake, according to a national health survey conducted in 2006 and presented in 2007 by the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance, a public institution that reports to the Ministry of Health.

There are plans to go further. Following the presidential panel's report issued in December, Sarkozy announced in a letter addressed to Basdevant in June that he was setting aside 140 million euros to implement a national obesity plan over the next three years.

Read the full story at GlobalPost.

Jump to comments
Presented by

John Hendel is a writer based in Washington, DC, and a former producer at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In