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I like to use the Japanese as a perfect example of what the Western diet can do to you. I lived in Japan for 3 years back when they ate traditional Japanese food--no McDonald's, etc. They ate small portions of rice, fish, veggies, and fruit and green tea all beautifully arranged on small plates and eating was a social hour not to be rushed. Their meals were, either, in a wok type of pan so all was mixed and cooked quickly, and their deep-fry like tempura had batter so light it was barely there. Tempura was a treat and not eaten often. Physical education was required and religiously performed every day in the schools. To me this was the perfect diet for health. Enter the Western diet and now there is a plethora of fat Japanese folk.

Ummm its worth noting that the Japanese diet doesn't necessarily lead to lack of fat - think of Sumo wrestlers! It is also worth noting that obesity in Europe / North America was practically unknown before the 2nd world war. Its not the "western" diet per se that leads to fat, its the modern western lifestyle with the decline of the concept of only eating at mealtimes and ready availabilty of snack/fast foods and sweet drinks.

So, we come around full circle to EXERCISE...Could it be that lack of exercise is one of the main reasons why so many are overweight? Could be.
Which also applies to the Japanese, in the past car ownership was rare and thus people used public transport to go places. Even in dense urban areas such as Tokyo, public transport often requires that you walk a few hundred yards at either end (plus soem changing trains/busses etc) and that soon adds up to a mile or two of walking. Today on the other hand with the increasing car ownership the daily mile or two of walking (or cycling) is no longer so common but people still eat the same.


There was a fascinating program on Japanese TV (She Who Must Be Obeyed now watches it via satellite) about world health which talked about obesity. Apparently West Viriginia is the place that is most "obese" and so a camera crew went to Cahleston WV to have a look around, it seemed like there wasn't a normal sized person in the entire town.

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