Today in French class, we talked about bread, the center of the French universe. Our professor said that French people considered bread as the most important part of a balanced diet, and that the American obsession of carb counting is what is making us such fatties. If we ate more bread, we wouldn't have to worry about the chub.
Yes, lots of Americans are overweight, and it's an issue, but I would argue that Americans are much healthier than the French.
The French may be thinner on average, but that doesn't mean they're fit, or healthy. No one I see on the street looks particularly toned, because no one does any physical exercise whatsoever. Running on the street will attract dirty looks, and gyms are few and far between. I was reading French ELLE in a café once, and had to laugh at the "fitness" advice they gave to petite women such as myself. In order to 'feminize' our figures by whittling ourselves some sort of a waist, just do some stretches that might have been considered a warm up in an American-style work out and call it a night.
My teacher also neglected to mention that French women are obsessed with staying thin. There is even a verb for "to get fat" (grossir), that's how serious they are. If they didn't have to go to great lengths to maintain their lean figures, they probably wouldn't make such a big deal.
The French are skinny-fat, I've decided. Skinny on the outside, but fat on the inside. If someone actually tested their cardio-vascular fitness, they'd do miserably. And have we forgotten about smoking? Lung capacity, ha! At least I can blow out all my birthday candles without wheezing, Frenchies. Then I'm gonna eat my cake too. And then regret it, because carbs = the devil.