Top Nav

Fat, Unhealthy Americans


“Most Americans aren’t in good physical condition because they don’t exercise enough.”

“No matter how unhealthy it maybe be, Americans love fast food.”

“Who do you think is healthier: Americans or Ukrainians?”

If you haven’t guessed it already, this is material I have to teach. At first I laughed a bit. Now, I find myself getting angry. The amount of America-bashing this country does gets really frustrating, especially when my classes answer the question of who is healthier.

Of course the entire world classifies the U.S. as a group of overweight and lazy pigs, and sure, there are plenty of those back home, but come on – do not try and tell me you are a healthier country when you’re munching on potatoes and fatty meat and kicking it back with beer or vodka! And, please, don’t get me started on salo!

The other day, a student asked me in English, “Brooke, do you eat lard?”

Lard? I responded by saying, “Do you mean to ask if I eat salo?”

Yes! Salo is what he meant, and it is a word commonly translated into English as lard. Remember that little party we had where we tasted salo and was told repeatedly how HEALTHY it is? Are you laughing a little now?

Not only this, but we have plenty of conversations about McDonald’s and fast food. I’ll admit it – I love McDonald’s. I love the greasy, salty combination of a double cheeseburger and fries washed back with a Coke Light. The funny thing here is that all my students will say how unhealthy and disgusting McD’s is, but when I ask them how often they eat there they often respond with a “once a week.” And this brings me to my next point: They freaking love McD’s over here!

I finally decided to break my McD’s ban (it had been over 4 months since the last) and experience it Ukrainian style. Actually, I quite think McD’s in other countries is just as much a cultural experience as sightseeing. For example, the style, class, and menu of such establishments has to change slightly in order to do well in other cultures. By seeing how this establishment alters itself in different circumstances is really interesting to me!

So, I went to McD’s, and in typical Ukrainian fashion, I had to wait in line. I had to wait in line because the place was so busy! I don’t think I really need to say more.

Again, I’d like to touch on the fat American stereotype again. It is true that we have some pudge in our waistline. It seems that when I look at photos from back home and people my age, they do seem to have a little more meat on their bones than the youngsters around these parts. However, the girls, and guys, here are impeccably thin – almost to a level where I wonder how much they actually eat. Then, I also find it interesting that the older women are the exact opposite! You never see a thin babushka out on the street. What happens?

I guess I’m just venting a little bit because I constantly have to bite my tongue in class. Actually, I do not mind that America is known as the fat country of the world. What I do mind, however, is having to push the stereotype even further. A country full of people using mayonnaise as salad dressing and eating lard is no healthier (no matter how they look physically) than one pulling up to the drive-thru window everyday. If there is one thing I have learned during my time in Ukraine it is this: Ukraine is really just like America in the health aspect because we both have people on all sides of the spectrum.


, , , , , , ,

21 Responses to Fat, Unhealthy Americans

  1. radbadnomad February 24, 2009 at 3:30 am #

    Great post Brooke, How did the McD’s compare to the ones back home. I have been to McD’s in a few different countries and like you said its a total different experience. Every one has had long lines as well, nothing like America.

  2. Shawn February 24, 2009 at 3:52 am #

    In America nobody walks, many places I have visited there are hills and people have to walk to the market and walk up hills and stairs to get home.

    Plus, America is a culture of bad habits and lacking traditional cooking. There overweight people all over, although Americans are an extreme example.

  3. Shawn February 24, 2009 at 6:09 am #

    Just to add, I find that there are different levels of health within each country.

    I find laziness, and over weight people everyplace, although some areas are slimmer than others because of being poor. America is kind of overboard concerning habits.

    Interesting subject that they have you teach.

    By the way how long do you think you will be living in The Ukraine?

  4. nick February 24, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    ‘using mayonnaise as salad dressing and eating lard’ I thought is not so bad
    Auboult ‘how they look physically’ …
    You are ride. Ukrainian look don’t good. In subway people angry, in stores – the same(((
    What reason? I don’t know.
    But Scandinavian countries is in a top division of amount of suicide. living standards in this courtiers very high.

  5. Brooke February 24, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

    Hey RadBad: Thanks 🙂 Actually, the look was not much different. The menu had some more fish on it, but a lot of the same – big tasty, cheeseburgers, etc. However, the clientele is interesting. You can see even the most polished looking, more mature looking people in here. Businessmen often have meetings in here, too.

    Shawn: Yes, America does have its extremes, but I feel like there is a normal middle level that should be talked about more. I hate when I hear that all Americans are overweight or don’t exercise because that’s just such a general stereotype. Maybe I’m wrong… I guess it gets the classes talking, which is the goal here. Anyways, I’m actually moving on very, very soon.

    Nick: You weren’t in conversation club today!

  6. radbadnomad February 24, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

    Brooke, where are you going to be moving to? And did you need anything special in order to teach in the Ukraine, i.e TEFL courses?

  7. [F]oxymoron February 24, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

    There are fat people ALL over the world! Tell your students the real secret is to find which country has the most smurfs! Or some nonsense like that…

  8. bethanycallsbullshit February 24, 2009 at 10:16 pm #

    ok, i call bullshit on this one. That’s insane that you have to teach that. I wonder do they also teach that one of the biggest issues affecting teenage girls in the U.S is anorexia and the disgusting obsession of being a perfect size 2?

    That horrible fact alone should dispel the fact that they think Americans are generally fat and lazy. I think that to the contrary most people are a little too obsessed with eating healthy in the U.S. Plus athletics are so important in the U.S. typically the people most popular & well liked are the athletes and those who take good care of themselves.

    I wonder where they even get this info. Maybe they should hang out in SoCal for a while huh?

    I honestly hardly know anyone that eats fast food and if they do it’s a treat, def. not a daily routine. Additionally, everyone is very label conscious, knows pretty much exactly what they are eating and there is a huge movement and emphasis on eating organic.

  9. nick February 25, 2009 at 12:39 am #

    i will be next Tuesday. I had an important deal yesterday(((((

  10. Brooke February 25, 2009 at 5:09 am #

    RadBad: Well I wasn’t going to tell anybody on the blog until I was there, but I’m going to Australia!!!! Woo! I think I need a little time in the Western world 😉 About Ukraine teaching – no TEFL needed. Some schools require it, but this one doesn’t.

    [F]oxy: Agreed. How am I going to explain smurfs to my students? haha

    Beth: Agreed. It’s a ridiculous subject.

  11. radbadnomad February 25, 2009 at 5:18 pm #

    Brroke, thats awesome, you just gonna be travelling through there or do you have other plans

  12. Brooke February 27, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    Work visa, so hopefully work for a bit then travel. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  13. Jill February 27, 2009 at 1:22 pm #

    Congrats on Austrailia, I’m looking forward to getting the inside scoop from you! I just bought you a beer (hope it goes through)–use it for a Fosters 🙂
    – Jill F. from Chicago, a semi-frequent reader

  14. Brooke February 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm #

    Awesome! Thanks Jill – I will definitely use it in Australia, although I hear that Australians don’t like Fosters… but… I’ll find out first-hand in a few! 😀 yippeeee

  15. Nomadic Matt February 28, 2009 at 10:29 pm #

    Aussie’s do not drink fosters. In fact, its an export beer and a bit hard to find in the country- though you can.

    enjoy OZ. but i think taiwan is better lol

  16. Craig March 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    Brooke! Great news about Australia. When do you head out? What area will you base out of?

  17. Brooke March 5, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    Hey Craig – I’m already in Sydney, which is where I want to be based out of. I’m currently begging and pleading people to let me work for them.

    Matt, what’s the weather like in Taiwan?

  18. Peetor March 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    In the time I spent in kiev I ate at mcdicks quite a lot. One thing I will say is that the service is faster than here in canada. It is alot busier usually in places like ukraine, but theres usually a cute girl or 3 working behind the counter, not mr. pimples, so its all good. Not to mention the food is faster. Mcdonalds tastes the same everywhere in the world, except im sure the spit has its cultural differences, Hows oz brooke? what you gonna do after oz??

  19. Brooke March 24, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    Haha, don’t mention the spit thing, Pete 😉

    Oz is great!!!! As for after, I have no freaking idea. I haven’t thought that far in the future. For now, I’m liking it here 🙂

  20. jessica March 26, 2010 at 4:57 am #

    Not all americans are lazy, I go to the gym every day, and I am 44, and in better shape than 25 year old women. Sure I drive most places, but I do not live in a big city where most store are back to back. Salo sounds disgusting, but we eat fried pork rinds here,or at least the fat people do. Nothing wrong with a little Mickey D’s every now and then, just enjoy in moderation, I love cake , and Oreos, sometime together, but if I eat them I work out harder the next day.

    • Brooke March 26, 2010 at 7:39 am #

      Exactly – this is why I hated the generalization they would always make 🙂

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes