A Weighty Problem
Originally appeared in Chiang Mai City Life magazine
I recently returned from a short visit to the U.S. During my brief visits back I like to observe the differences between my old home and my new one, just to see if I have made the correct choice of moving here permanently.
When I am in Thailand, one of my favorite pastimes is people-watching. I like to count how many men and women who walk by that could be in the super model category (it’s an esthetic activity). They are beautiful in face and figure and if not for their short stature and the fact that they are usually smiling, they might be on a Paris runway. So when I found myself at a Wal-Mart back home I also did some people-watching.
Instead of a steady stream of super models I observed a steady stream of extremely overweight people. At least half of the people who walked by were quite overweight, huge by Thai standards, and a large percentage of them were morbidly obese. I am talking about people in the 200+ kilo range. Many needed help walking and had to use canes and walkers. There is now a big market in personal electric carts for Americans who are too heavy to walk.
I found out one of the reasons for American obesity when I went for lunch at a Chinese restaurant later. I ordered a bowl of noodles, just like I would here. I got a bowl that had literally 4 times the amount that is served in Thailand. It was more food than I would usually eat in a day. And that was the same at every restaurant I ate at. At a Dennys I had their “grand slam” breakfast, 2 eggs, 2 sausage links, a large serving of home fried potatoes, and a large bowl of grits. That is about a month’s worth of breakfast calories for me here. No wonder American people get fat. They simply eat too much. My European friends tell me they have observed the same thing there.
But here’s a warning. Thais, especially the children, are beginning to eat like Americans, with KFCs, and Pizza, and hamburgers, and 7 Elevens just about everywhere. Sadly to say, in my people-watching here, I am beginning to see the beginnings of what I observed at Wal-Mart. I sure hope it never comes to that.