Vive la difference

Peter Mills , 01 Jun 2011

I recently had the pleasure of spending a long weekend in the Champagne region of France.

Wandering the streets I couldn't help thinking that there was something different about the locals. Yes, they were very elegantly dressed and expressive when they spoke, but whilst sitting at a pavement café it struck me…there are very few overweight people in France.

How could this be that our nearest neighbours can be so different to our genetically very similar population in the UK? But they are, the prevalence of obesity on France is around 10% of the population, whereas in the UK it it's creeping above 25%.

I am sure there are far knowledgeable scholars that me that can catalogue the cultural differences between to two populations, but central to the stark reality has to be the attitude the French take to food and eating. For the French food is to be savoured, it is not juts food, but in some instances an art-form in itself. It's accepted that even the humble lunch, something most of us just grab from a shop on the go, should be prepared with fresh ingredients and should be consumed in an unrushed fashion.

We often make jokes about our European neighbours and how they take long lunch breaks, long holidays and short week, but the fact of the matter is that the French GDP is greater than ours, with almost an identical head of population. Perhaps we should start to introduce a mandatory lunch break where good wholesome food can be consumed by all employees….good for the bottom line and good for the health!

Bon appetite.


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Long live lunch!

Doug Shaw 02 Jun 2011

Great post thanks Peter, that part of France you've just visited is a lovely part of a lovely country and you've brought back some happy memories for me. And I think we ignore lunch time at our peril. There is loads of research showing us that regular breaks make us happier and more productive and less stressed yet folk are a slave to the inbox these days. It's irresponsible not to take a break. Employers should be activelyt encouraging it and leading by example, and employees should be demanding it and doing it. I wrote about the passing of our friend lunchtime, and other things which have helped to signal the end of company in its etymological sense (cum = with, panis = bread, to break bread with each other). You and others may be interested in this, if so here is the link: Thanks again for an interesting post.

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