in ,

Europe 1, USA 0.

Who doesn’t love a little competition? The U.S. is a fantastic place that beats out any European country in many ways. We have better Mexican food, free water at restaurants, plenty of theme parks to visit, baseball, and air conditioning in most homes. Americans love to win, and we win a lot. However, we tend to come up short when it comes to health. So why are Europeans so much healthier? Let’s dive in.

What’s Going On Across The Pond? 

If you were one of the millions of Americans that opted for a European vacation instead of another family road trip in 2022, you probably noticed that our friends overseas don’t have the healthiest habits. They drink, smoke, and seem to really enjoy their carbs and cured meats. 

However, you may have also noticed that they look healthier than your average crowd in a major American city. On average, just over 15% of adults in Europe are obese. Here in the U.S., our obesity rate is rapidly approaching 40%. So yeah, they are doing a lot better than us. 

So what gives? How can Europeans be so much healthier than Americans off wine, cigarettes, and chocolate croissants? 

First of all, it is important to note that, as a whole, Europeans aren’t exactly representing the pinnacle of health. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the rates of people who are obese and overweight in Europe have hit “epidemic proportions.” So, it’s not like cigarettes, wine, and macarons are doing them any favors, but they are still doing much better than us. 

One possible explanation for losing this health battle could be pesticide load. If there is anything we love in the U.S. more than reality TV and gender reveal parties, it’s spraying our crops with pesticides. The U.S. uses 150 pesticides that the WHO considers hazardous to human health. Eighty-five of those pesticides are banned by the European Union (EU). 

Generally, Europe takes a much more precautionary approach when approving new chemicals. In the EU, chemical manufacturers are required to submit toxicity data to regulators before getting approval. In the U.S., safety assurance requirements by the EPA do not cover food or pesticides. That means that in the U.S., we rely on Big Agriculture companies to tell us how safe their chemicals are, and we take their word for it. 

Big corporations would never lie and put our health at risk. Right? 

Then there is also the difference in ingredients to make the same exact foods in the U.S. versus Europe. Do a quick Google image search for “U.S. versus Europe ingredient lists,” and you’ll see what we are talking about. Heinz Ketchup, Mountain Dew, Quaker Instant Oats, Doritos – all of these processed foods have a much longer ingredient list in the U.S. than in Europe. For whatever reason, we love adding more junk to our processed foods here in the states than they do across the pond. 

And finally, there is a difference in activity levels between Americans and Europeans that is most likely contributing to the difference in obesity rates between both populations. In many major European cities, people get around on bicycles and on foot. In America, it is not uncommon to see several people going around a Walmart in a motorized shopping cart. Those are extreme examples, but you get the difference. The average European gets over 1,000 more steps a day than the average American. 

The key takeaway? We need to do better. If a continent that smokes more cigarettes than us and takes siestas in the middle of the day is beating us when it comes to health, we simply need to do better. 

However, we can’t wait for U.S. regulators to get tough on pesticide manufacturers or Big Food companies to make Doritos with fewer ingredients. We need to take our health into our own hands and take more responsibility when it comes to the things we put into our bodies and the actions we take to optimize our health. 

What do you think?

Employees Seeking Peace of Mind

Who Knew? Celebs Giving Birth at Home