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  • #16
    I would guess relatively cheap gas and suburban culture, if you could call it that. My kids have to take school buses or be driven to their schools. I grew up in Chicago and walked to school every day until high school, then took a city bus which did not drop me at the doorstep. My grandparents lived in Chicago also and never owned a car. They walked to shops, the bank, and local restaurants. Took a bus to work.

    It was explained to me many years ago by a Brit I worked with that European cities were more pedestrian-friendly than American ones because they were established before the advent of the automobile.

    Food prep likely has a big role also. It takes a lot of energy and organization to keep homemade meals on the table for a family when both parents (or the only parent) have been commuting and working for 10+ hours a day. If they are eating SAD, the energy won't be there to cook properly AND get the chores done AND get out for a walk, etc.
    As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again.

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    • #17
      I dunno, there are too many variables. I lived for several years in Germany and Austria. While those countries and the US seem to have an equal share of just plain overweight and slightly obese folks, the US definitely has more of the very obese.

      Otherwise though, on the US coasts and wealthy areas people have a healthier glow than in the midwest. I'd expect Munich and Amsterdam to be more health conscious than more rural, poorer areas of Germany and the Netherlands. I don't know if wealth correlates to health in the same manner in Western Europe, I suspect not as strongly.

      But still, you can get a myopic view by travelling some place as compared to living there for an extended period. Plunking down in Munich for a few weeks could lead to some views constrained by the time and place of your visit. In much the same way, I also got frustrated with the Germans I knew who had been to San Francisco and LA and thought they knew it all about California.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by JeffC View Post
        Otherwise though, on the US coasts and wealthy areas people have a healthier glow than in the midwest. I'd expect Munich and Amsterdam to be more health conscious than more rural, poorer areas of Germany and the Netherlands. I don't know if wealth correlates to health in the same manner in Western Europe, I suspect not as strongly.
        Ya... as a teenager I worked in a deli/supermarket in the rural midwest and the farmers seemed to have the worst habits. Waffle brunch every day then buy a cart full of generic pastries and soda on the way home. The younger ones were pretty spherical and the older ones were bloodshot and wheezing. I guess a corn/soy commodity farm doesn't exactly provide an alternative.
        37//6'3"/185

        My peculiar nutrition glossary and shopping list

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        • #19
          Interesting........

          I was born in Montreal to Irish parents in the early 1970's. At the age of 4 1/2 we moved to Saudi Arabia to become expats where my father had a job (not in oil!!). On vacation - there were many as my fathers job was compensated for being in such an austere country - we mostly travelled to Europe. In France, my family ate fresh foods and we as children always had to try local dishes. Even in the far east - Thailand / Bangkok we were made to eat local foods. The kids with American parents in the same expat lifestyle that we were in, always sought out the fast food chains as their children would not / were not made to eat local foods.

          I recall living in the UK from the age of 10 onwards and vacationing in the States, and a few things about their eating habits shocked me - the size of supermarkets (and that you got everything under one roof and had driven there), the amount of fake foods (syrups / donuts / twinkies) but also the aray of fruit!

          I live in Vancouver now, and there is a definite west coast vibe and desire to get back to organic / local / real foods which I'm happy to support. I am a frequenter of Starbucks and other coffee stores, but not of fast food joints, however the price of a take out meal is pretty on par with the raw ingredients of a meal, and those pressed for time can afford the former. In England (at least it used to be) dinner out was a treat as it was pretty expensive, and normally it would be somewhere like the Chinese which offered dishes not easily made at home.

          The paying of governments by grain companies / grain unions / Monsanto will only keep the awful diets afloat, and the proliferation of diet pills will mean that those afflicted with the 'get well quick' syndrome will eat the donuts and take a pill to compensate. Who in all honesty doesn't like things 'in an instant', rather than working for them, unless they have a complete psychic change and a change of heart within themselves.

          My 2c's worth!
          PG!
          Primal - June 3rd 2013
          Starting Weight - 150lbs
          Current Weight - 150lbs
          Goal Weight - 130lbs
          (Female / 5'4")

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Urban Forager View Post
            So did you find in your travels that Americans are working longer hours than people in other countries?
            I think that overall Americans work longer hours just because they have shorter vacations than other countries. In Egypt, the normal job has about a month of vacation days with it, not counting national holidays. Also in Egypt, a shorter work week is common, 4.5 days versus 5 days.

            But the other thing that seems different in Germany and is very common in Egypt, is that people spend more time socializing and with family when they are off. They may work the same hours as someone in the USA but their time off is more social and less TV watching.
            Randal
            AKA: Texas Grok

            Originally posted by texas.grok
            Facebook is to intelligence what a black hole is to light
            http://hardcoremind.com/

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            • #21
              Originally posted by JeffC View Post
              But still, you can get a myopic view by travelling some place as compared to living there for an extended period. Plunking down in Munich for a few weeks could lead to some views constrained by the time and place of your visit. In much the same way, I also got frustrated with the Germans I knew who had been to San Francisco and LA and thought they knew it all about California.
              Perhaps true of Germany but I have lived and worked in Egypt for 4 years now. While they are catching up to the USA, you still don't see as many obese people as you to in the US. Part of the reason why they are catching up is because the US fast-foods and processed foods are heavily marketed in Cairo at least. But out where I live, out in the middle of nowhere, there is a Pizza Hut and KFC within 10 minutes drive and the store in the resort where I live, is well stocked American processed crap.
              Randal
              AKA: Texas Grok

              Originally posted by texas.grok
              Facebook is to intelligence what a black hole is to light
              http://hardcoremind.com/

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              • #22
                Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
                Hahaha, lunch break? Most people I know get a lunch break that is eating at your desk while working. Employers may "give you an hour lunch break" but you'd better not use it, at least not regularly.
                I always take my legal breaks. I've never been fired for it. I can't speak to promotions because I'm of an age that I don't really give a damn about promotions.. But in this country, you are legally entitled to a 15 minute break per four hour shift, and a half hour for lunch during an eight hour shift. If you don't demand what's required by law, then you're a lackey and it's on you that your employer abuses you.
                "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                B*tch-lite

                Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                • #23
                  But in this country, you are legally entitled to a 15 minute break per four hour shift, and a half hour for lunch during an eight hour shift. If you don't demand what's required by law, then you're a lackey and it's on you that your employer abuses you.
                  That works if you are hourly, but when you are salaried rules change. You also lose things like overtime pay. Plus I'm in a "Right to Work State" and if you want to make too many demands it's super easy to eliminate your position.

                  I have a really good job though. But I know people who get salaries at engineering and architecture firms and they are just expected to produce work and if they can do it in an 8 hour day with a 15 minute break, fine, and if it takes them 12 hour days tough shit.

                  http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                  Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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                  • #24
                    Yeah, I don't think I'd do too well in one of those positions. I know after my internship I'm going salary, but I -think- they still push the "gtfo after 40 hrs/week". Right now I am hourly, but overtime is strongly discouraged. During briefing they stated it was very important I report all overtime accurately, but my actual boss lady has always let me do whatever it takes to not get a moment's overtime.

                    I don't fully disagree with that practice, though my overtime pay would be something like $23/hr...that would be pretty nice. That said, in this contract environment, it would be stylish to be a cheap employee.

                    We get half hour lunches, but I never take them. I've never worked for anyone who discouraged taking lunch. In fact, this is my first job where lunch half hour ISN'T paid. Subsequently, I skip lunch, stay an extra half hour and rack up a 9hr work day 4 days a week. This lets me gtfo at noon on Friday. Well worth it, and it meshes well with the new Furlough Fridays and CWS Fridays. I don't know how long that I'll be allowed to do that, though. Nobody complains, but I think technically I'm not supposed to do that as I am "Essential Personnel". I am sort of half miming CWS Friday practices, which is explicitly denied to me as EP.

                    I also don't really take breaks as such. If I'm not doing something and someone needs IT help, I get there fast and solve their problems ASAP. None of that waiting for help from me. If I'm not at my desk, I'm probably making tea.

                    M.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by JoanieL View Post
                      I always take my legal breaks. I've never been fired for it. I can't speak to promotions because I'm of an age that I don't really give a damn about promotions.. But in this country, you are legally entitled to a 15 minute break per four hour shift, and a half hour for lunch during an eight hour shift. If you don't demand what's required by law, then you're a lackey and it's on you that your employer abuses you.
                      Meal and rest breaks are regulated by state labor laws. The situation is the same in my state as yours, but different in other states.

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                      • #26
                        Thank you eKatherine. I guess I'm lucky to have spent most of my work life in states that don't allow slavery. Even when I was a salaried accountant, I got overtime during busy season. (And a meal stipend, though I always knew that was a company thing.)

                        I'd still walk. I suck at slavery. And apparently I'm good at it because even when I've quit jobs for cause, I've gotten unemployment benefits. They will only treat you with the respect you deserve if you force them to. I don't care what the current climate is.
                        "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                        B*tch-lite

                        Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                        • #27
                          Long vacations also weird me out, personally. I'm in a class right now where the professor is telecoming in from the west coast. He's an Australian, and when he uses employee vacation as an example for version control stuff, he keeps using phrases like "Two weeks", "three weeks", or a "month".

                          I cannot fathom taking a single week off! I'd be a wreck. I don't even do all that much and I'd still be nuts to get back in the hanger.

                          M.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by MEversbergII View Post
                            Long vacations also weird me out, personally. I'm in a class right now where the professor is telecoming in from the west coast. He's an Australian, and when he uses employee vacation as an example for version control stuff, he keeps using phrases like "Two weeks", "three weeks", or a "month".

                            I cannot fathom taking a single week off! I'd be a wreck. I don't even do all that much and I'd still be nuts to get back in the hanger.

                            M.
                            Americans have completely lost the ability to relax due to our puritanistic attitude about hard work being good for the soul. The issue is that without time off, you never stop working and get to recharge yourself, which is what everybody else in the world thinks is so important about vacation that it is mandated.

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                            • #29
                              You might be right, but I don't think it's my puritanical attitude about hard work. I am very expendable and can be replaced, and have emotional hangups about not being "seen". I think.

                              Or, you could be completely right and I am so wrapped up in it that I'm not even aware.

                              M.

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                              • #30

                                Americans have completely lost the ability to relax due to our puritanistic attitude about hard work being good for the soul.
                                I think most people would LOVE to take time off but simply can't. People just expect you to be available now and being out of touch for a couple of weeks is a no go for most employers.

                                http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                                Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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