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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 more...like 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..

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