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Europe's Gluttony Olympics: Fattest, Laziest, Drunkest

Tyler Durden's picture


Forget Citius, Altius, Fortius ("Faster, Higher, Stronger"), the real Olympic challenge among Europe's nations is Pinguissimam, Ignavissumi, Bibe Maxime (Fattest, Laziest, Drunkest). As WaPo notes, there's nothing like tales of butter-eating, wine-guzzling, yet somehow-still thin Europeans to add to American angst over holiday calories and upcoming resolutions, but while overall, Europeans are fairly healthy, a recently-released report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (below) found that the prevalence of diseases such as diabetes and asthma has also increased — in part because of better diagnosis, but also thanks to underlying causes such as drinking, smoking and eating fattening foods. Here’s a look at which Europeans are most obese, most inactive and drink most (no, it's not the Brits):


Via The Washington Post:


Despite common perceptions that the French sip wine all day or that Scandinavians muddle through the long winters with the aid of aquavit, Luxembourg actually tops the list of Europe’s alcohol consumers, with nearly 15.3 liters bought per capita annually — a 12 percent increase since 1980. (The OECD points out, however, that foreigners actually purchase much of that because of Luxembourg’s lower-than-average alcohol taxes.) Not counting Luxembourg, Latvia and Romania top the charts of alcohol consumption among adults:

Screenshot: OECD


Meanwhile, the supposed dolce vita of the Italians has become more temperate. They’ve reduced their alcohol consumption by nearly 60 percent since 1980, to a modest 6.9 liters. 

And even though higher taxes and more rigid advertising laws have caused alcohol consumption in the E.U. to decline by 15 percent since 1980, the region still has the highest level of alcohol consumption in the world, and alcohol is the third leading risk factor for disease there, after tobacco and high blood pressure.

The problem is that as parts of Europe sober up, other countries have been drinking more — and new types — of alcohol:

There has been a degree of convergence in drinking habits across the European Union, with wine consumption increasing in many traditional beer-drinking countries and vice versa. 



The rate of obesity has doubled over the past 20 years in the E.U., to 17 percent, making it a “major public health concern,” the authors write. Hungarians are the most obese people in the E.U., at 28.5 percent, closely followed by Britain.

Hungary’s neighbors, the Romanians, are the most svelte:

Screenshot: OECD



The authors note the use of taxes on fat and sugar — such as those recently passed in Finland, France and Hungary — as potential solutions. However, one such measure in Denmark was recently repealed after it was found to have too detrimental of an impact on consumers and businesses.


Physical activity:

Overall, only one in five children in the E.U. member states say they exercise regularly. The study didn’t measure physical activity among adults, but if sedentary children become pudgy grown-ups, the Italians are in trouble. Just 7 percent of girls and 12 percent of boys there reported daily physical activity, while the Austrians were most active: 

Screenshot: OECD


Source: Washington Post

Health at a Glance Europe 2012


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Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:40 | 3034257 zorba THE GREEK
zorba THE GREEK's picture

It looks like Hungary has lived up to its name.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:40 | 3034438 ACP
ACP's picture

Does this include the amount of booze purchased in watering holes?

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 06:16 | 3034956 achmachat
achmachat's picture

Unfortunately, the conclusion for Luxembourg is not correct, as correctly pointed out in the article.

The population of Luxembourg does not drink that much more alcohol than its neighbours. That large number comes from the fact that Luxembourg has much lower TAX for alcoholic beverages than its immediate neighbouring countries. Being on the crossroads between Germany, France and Belgium, there's a massive economy here to sell gas, booze and cigarettes to the travellers passing through. 

Hence those ridiculously high numbers, if you also take into consideration that the total population of Luxembourg is just half a million.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:51 | 3034484 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

If they drank a little more they could become Thirstary...

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 00:17 | 3034725 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

Turkey had better watch out...

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 00:44 | 3034761 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Yeah, sitting around, on their ottomans.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:54 | 3034268 akak
akak's picture

Consuming too much greece (toxic debt) is clearly bad for one's (financial) health.


PS: Speaking of Greece, do we REALLY still have to continue indulging this nonsense about "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"?  I've got news for you petulant Greeks: the country on your northern border IS Macedonia, all your childish, misguided nationalistic tantrums to the contrary notwithstanding.  Get over yourselves.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:12 | 3034526 BigJim
BigJim's picture


Next you'll be saying we should refer to Constantinople as 'Istanbul'.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:37 | 3034637 akak
akak's picture

You're talking about Byzantium, right?

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:42 | 3034655 Antipodeus
Antipodeus's picture

DAMN!  You beat me to it!


Graffiti spotted on the wall of the Finnish Club (of all places) in the suburb of Balmain, in Sydney, Australia, many years ago:


"FREE BYZANTIUM!!"  [It was there for a LONG time.  ;=)) ]



Wed, 12/05/2012 - 03:31 | 3034891 Ar-Pharazôn
Ar-Pharazôn's picture


Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:13 | 3034570 ACP
ACP's picture

Kinda makes "going Greek" into a double entendre.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 08:43 | 3035050 MillionDollarBoner_
MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

Make that a double cheeseburger ;o)

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:46 | 3034270 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

In the 1980s Irish kids walked to school  , now they have become Americans


The French drank much more wine............


The Irish drank in the pub rather the sadly at home before blowing their tiny brains out.


Its the euro 

Its the most anti labour construct ever created.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:48 | 3034448 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

And sadly the show is just starting...

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 04:08 | 3034903 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

In the 1980s Irish kids walked to school , now they have become Americans

That is nailing it.

'Americanism' spreading around...

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 07:40 | 3034990 falak pema
falak pema's picture

wine and olive oil; both in moderation with lots of omega rich spices, fruit and vegetables; something the northern countries do not tradition in. 

As for the Euro it was not made to be a serf's ring per se; but it has become 'cos those banks have been let out of PAndora's box. The pox of pax americana construct to buy all that imported oil on credit, then to make i-pads cheap.

USd dollar reserve cut and pasted across europe; in hasty, no fiscal policy, maximum crony horsy political jockeying, bunga-bunga orgy plays.

WHat happened to Delor's magical Maastricht prudence ratios of debt/deficit moderation?

That < was the financial Rubicon they ALL crossed! 

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 08:02 | 3035012 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

damn, I promised myself that I would not comment today... well...

"the euro as a serf ring" or "the euro as a destruction machine" goes always back to two things, one seen and one unseen

unseen: what would have happened in the last years without the euro?

A) either a currency grid like last time


B) a "competitive devaluation" orgy

seen: C) the euro is being devalued slowly, and it's behaving like any hard currency (like gold, but not that hard) in the less profitable parts of the eurozone - which means the "periphery" is hurting more (though profitable business in the periphery is ok)

so C) is not that different from A) and the only thing I can ask is: would you have preferred B)?

And the answer to that depends from your financial and geographic position

Any City of London banker would have vastly preferred B), of course, and the FED too

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 11:40 | 3035704 falak pema
falak pema's picture

well it is a shield to protect us while we die by a thousand cuts; as part of the great ship of first world depredation. 

I'll grant u that! 

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:47 | 3034271 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Double post

Sadly not a double powers.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:47 | 3034276 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

In honor of my central European genetic heritage I'm going to crack another beer.


Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:48 | 3034277 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Boy Italians don't eat ,don't drink ,and don't exercise. Wtf do they do ?

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:52 | 3034284 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

Not sure about the boys, but almost every Italian girl I know loves to fuck.  Vigorously.  With a big smile.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:12 | 3034349 London Dude Trader
London Dude Trader's picture

Not in Italy, they don't.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 09:34 | 3035154 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

But you trade in dudes, so how would you know?

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:53 | 3034289 akak
akak's picture

Talk with their hands ... a lot.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:22 | 3034597 knukles
knukles's picture

Know why Italian men got such big dorks?
They don't get presents for Christmas.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 10:32 | 3035369 Dexter Morgan
Dexter Morgan's picture

Why do Italians grow mustaches?  So they look like their mother.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 10:33 | 3035371 Dexter Morgan
Dexter Morgan's picture

Why Italians wear so many chains around their necks?  So they know where to stop shaving.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:00 | 3034312 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

As an American Italian I will set your mind at ease. I eat, drink, and don't exercise.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:11 | 3034338 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

So tell me Fonz ... Is your family like Ray Barone's? The only show I enjoy watching on TV.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:19 | 3034367 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

It is to the extent that the only time my wife and my side of the family get along is when they are conspiring about me. My wife's family is russian. They live in South Jersey and outside of philly. When we go there they just yell in russian while I drink a beer and watch sports.

Jesus Christ I am Ray Romano......I never looked at it that way. This changes everything.


Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:39 | 3034436 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

That makes two of us. That's why I find the show so funny. Sometimes when my wife is yelling at me I burst out laughing because she sounds like Ray's wife. That of course gets me in more trouble, but it's worth it.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:56 | 3034510 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

If you laugh at a russian woman while she is yelling at you, you can actually see them visualizing killing you. I have slept with one eye open many a night.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:17 | 3034583 ekm
ekm's picture


The good thing would be that you have two Christmas to celebrate on both sides.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:32 | 3034624 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Russian Jew. My wifes grandmother was one of the real life characters in that movie "Defiance". Badass people. I respect them. I am drinking a glass of wine and staring at my "Channukah Bush" as we speak....and all along I thought it was a Christmas tree....

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 00:01 | 3034695 ekm
ekm's picture

I can't stop laughing....sorry.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 00:06 | 3034704 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

It's all about laughter bud.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 00:10 | 3034714 ekm
ekm's picture

I was deep into reading Margin of Safety from Seth Klarman but I can't now. This is quite humorous. 

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:33 | 3034609 knukles
knukles's picture

My matriarchal side is Lithuanian (close enuf for Russian) and Italian.  Mrs K says that's why I wave my hands all over, argue with and threaten myself all the time.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 04:07 | 3034901 vato poco
vato poco's picture

"Threaten yourself"?? You sure you don't have some Albanian in the mix somewhere? Nothing in the world like watching an Albanian working him/herself into a frothing rage. Like Daffy Duck on PCP. "I'll kick my ass!! And slaughter your entire family!!"

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:15 | 3034576 ekm
ekm's picture

At least do what makes sense, watch Juventus.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:00 | 3034314 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Tell everybody to "vaffanculo" a lot.

At least they did in my neighborhood.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:43 | 3034451 Againstthelie
Againstthelie's picture

Write nice statistics?

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 05:27 | 3034941 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

They smoke.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:53 | 3034288 ArsoN
ArsoN's picture

Romania seems solid.  Drunk and thin.  

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 10:46 | 3035437 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

I work with a Romanian.  She is solid and thin, and smart, and well, solid.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:55 | 3034295 magpie
magpie's picture

Great...i remember reading the AsiaTimes back in the 1990s...always had nifty financial statistics and some calories consumed by country. I always wished Germany, Russia and the USA would overtake the UAE and Belgium, but they never did.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:56 | 3034299 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

The only europeans to drink me under the table were Bavarians .......

They take drink far too seriously......


Its like a sport to them......


Its not fun - its .........its SERIOUS

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 00:19 | 3034729 wandstrasse
wandstrasse's picture

I am Bavarian, thanks for the compliment, I flushed and had a tear of emotion in my eye..

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 00:39 | 3034757 pirea
pirea's picture

It means you did not drink with a russian

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 00:51 | 3034776 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Lived there for a while hanging out mostly with climbers.   They only half jokingly considered beer to be just a liquid form of bread, i.e. food.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 21:58 | 3034309 SanOvaBeach
SanOvaBeach's picture

Have one on me and fuck you.................................

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:01 | 3034316 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Calling Heir Bloomberg, you're wanted back on the continent.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:01 | 3034318 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 I think I'm going to go drink a gallon of "embalming fluid", these markets are DEAD...

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:12 | 3034346 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Dead and buried Yen. It's like trying to trade a snail fight. Everything has been pinned down to such a tiny trading range.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:28 | 3034368 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 The China HSBC services just game out worse then last months numbers, and the aud/GDP missed. The RBA lowered rates last night and the aud/usd goes bid. I didn't trade that head fake though.

The euro is up in the top of it's 4-5 month range on horseshit/

  The economic calendar looks pretty well loaded for the next 18 hours or so. I'll keep my powder dry for later.


Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:32 | 3034411 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I have no idea how you game it. The dollar weakens at the thought of spending cuts and tax hikes kicking in. If they agree to some BS deal and avoid spending cuts the dollar will strengthen when it should weaken. Gold has been weakening heading into QE4 even as the dollar weakens. The Euro is rising and periphery yields are dropping even as the eurozone implodes. I must think way too macro because I would not know which way to bet even if you gave me the answers to the test.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:27 | 3034614 knukles
knukles's picture

At times the hardest and best trade is to sit nervous and flat.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:25 | 3034388 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

I don't trade anymore. I got some longs. It's just a lesson in futility at this point. I just collect PMs. I like holding my investment. I like being old school.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:05 | 3034326 q99x2
q99x2's picture

You ain't seen fat until you go shopping in the San Fernando Valley. Hungary has nothing on SFV.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:23 | 3034378 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

Any Wal-Mart will do.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:05 | 3034328 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

Any coincidink that most of the least obese countries are self-reported?

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:33 | 3034625 knukles
knukles's picture


Another Conspiracy Theory tin foil hat idea of yours.
BTW, always best to put a couple of knobs on the tin foil hat to adjust the resonance around the 0.2 to 5.5 MHt range.....

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 23:51 | 3034679 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

There's an app for that...

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 01:51 | 3034841 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

That would interfere with the reception channel on my Orgone Accumulator.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 03:51 | 3034899 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

Something of a Superman Creator! Even better than Energy Simulators - (I hear they turn your eyeballs into craters) . . . . . .

Definitely not a device for social integration though

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:11 | 3034341 the misanthrope
the misanthrope's picture

The OECD ? The organisation of no tax is a bad tax unless it applies to us ? Fuck off.


The authors note the use of taxes on fat and sugar — such as those recently passed in Finland, France and Hungary — as potential solutions. 


Solutions ?

This is what the organisation is supposed to be :

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, French: Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques, OCDE) is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It is a forum of countries committed to democracy and the free-market economy,


Now that is a good joke !


Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:16 | 3034361 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Europeans live in the same la-la land Americans do:  they have the better currencies because they are backed by the strongest militaries.

Same as it ever was.

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 22:23 | 3034381 Stinko da Munk
Stinko da Munk's picture

The highest likker consumption is Luxembourg at 15 liters a year? Come on, that's like 500 ounces, a shot and a half a day. You call that drinking? Fugg me ded, I call that lunch.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 04:18 | 3034902 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

If this is neat alcohol, then we're looking at 300ml per week, which really isn't a lot at all! A decent red contains about 15% alcohol, so that's the equivalent of about 2.8 700ml bottles per person per week.

Most colleagues get through two LARGE glasses EVERY End of Shift (just to "settle the nerves"!), so we're looking at 400ml per DAY = 2.4 litres per week (or 3 and 1/2 standard bottles) plus whatever we guzzle during our days off. Say the equivalent of 4 standard bottles per person, per week total, = 420mL total alcohol.

Welcome to the reality of front-line Australian Healthcare - the staff are all permanently sozzled (helps to reduce anxiety and stress levels - following OH&S Guidelines to promote a "Healthier sic. Working Environment" don't you know!)

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 05:25 | 3034937 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

 A liter of wine has about 0.1 liters of alcohol, so 15 liters of alcohol corresponds to 150 liters (200 bottles) of wine a year, or 300 liters (600 pints) of beer a year.  You are right. That really isn't all that much. Especially since young children are allowed to drink alcohol in Europe, and a per-capita measure averages over both drinking adults and non-drinking persons.

Notice that the US and Russia were not listed on the charts.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 07:38 | 3034989 Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

We begin well, sir.  I distrust a man that says "when".  If he's got to be careful not to drink too much, it's because he's not to be trusted when he does.   Kasper Gutman, The Maltese Falcon

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 01:00 | 3034790 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

But nobody can touch the fat fucking disgusting pig that is the average American

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 06:32 | 3034964 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

You mean this girl?  Rollin' in the Deep


i went to several schools growing up and there were typically 1-2 poor fugly people in each grade.  Most of the kids were pretty, really.  I don't know what happened.  But it has more to do with what Americans are being provided to survive and grow than they as a people.  Consumerism, self absorption and dull educational system which does not inspire curiosity and passion has left them with broken spirits and a loss of identity. Americans forget who they are.  It's coming soo to a country you live it.  It's a protocol:  How to Take Over A Country Without Even Trying

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 05:40 | 3034947 Rick Blaine
Rick Blaine's picture

I noticed Bulgaria ranked near the top on the "obesity" test - that said, their ranking was based on "self-reported" data...

I spent some time there about seven years ago...and I distinctly remember thinking that, for the most part (well, at least compared to the U.S.), the people there seemed to be pretty trim...

...not like in an unhealthy way at all - it just seemed like they used a fair amount of common sense/moderation in their diet/lifestyle.

I also remember being very surprised at how attractive the women were there in general...not that I was really expecting otherwise...I was just surprised/impressed.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 06:29 | 3034962 Fred C Dobbs
Fred C Dobbs's picture

I thought the same of Romania just north of Bulgaria about 6 years ago.  Really hot women on the beach of Constanta.  By the way you are looking good.  

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 08:13 | 3035027 Moe Howard
Moe Howard's picture

I see Poland is sobering up. Back before the Russians went home drinking pure alcohol was a national sport. Vodka drinking a distant second.

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