Sure there is a such thing as the French Paradox… However, not everybody is slender in France and due to the increasing weight problems, the French government has taken steps to counteract obesity. A government run program called Manger Bouger (Eat and Move), encourages it’s citizens to eat balanced meals and exercise a certain amount each day.

A Useful Website
All the information about the program can be found on the government website. Here they offer healthy recipes, exercising information, and helpful articles. Just to get an idea, I’m quoting an article about “snacking” and translating it:

On appelle « grignotage » la prise d’aliments en dehors des repas. Il peut être encouragé par des repas peu consistants, le stress, l’ennui… Le grignotage répond à une sensation de faim qui n’est pas toujours fondée. Lorsqu’on grignote, l’estomac travaille en permanence et il en prend l’habitude. Déréglé, il ne sait plus bien reconnaître la « vraie » sensation de faim. De plus, on a alors tendance à se jeter sur les distributeurs qui sont souvent remplis avec des aliments qui ne sont pas très intéressants nutritionnellement : pain au chocolat, gâteaux, bonbons, barres chocolatées…

Rester inactif toute la journée (devant la TV ou l’ordinateur), ce n’est pas bon pour la santé. Pourquoi ne pas profiter des beaux jours pour faire un foot, dehors, avec les copains ou juste aller se balader ? Au moins 30 minutes d’activité physique par jour, c’est un bon moyen pour dépenser une partie de l’énergie consommée. 

“One calls ‘snacking’ the taking in of food outside of a meal. Snacking can be encouraged by inconstant meals, stress, boredom… Snacking responds to a sensation of hunger that’s not always legitimate. When on snacks, the stomach works around the clock. If left unchecked, the stomach doesn’t know the ‘true’ sensation of hunger. In addition, one also has the tendency to munch on things that aren’t filling or nutritionally interesting: breads filled with chocolate, cakes, candy, chocolate bars…

Staying inactive for the whole day (infront of the TV or computer), is not good for your health. Why not enjoy the beautiful day, play some soccer outside with some friends or just go for a walk. At least thirty minutes of physical activity a day, it’s a good way to spend some of that energy you consumed.”

In Everyday Life
One thing that I find interesting about the whole program is the way they use public service announcements. Every food commercial has a banner at the bottom, and something about eating a balanced diet is always included into the advertisements. There are also 30-second public service announcements that air during the commercial breaks, constantly reminding everybody… Even on billboards outside, if it includes food, it includes a manger bouger warning. Just by being out in everyday life, on the TV, and on the internet can better inform the French people how to stay “fit”. Like we all didn’t know eating well and exercising keeps one healthy.

Do you like the government’s proactive role in French health? Do you know of any programs implemented in your area?

To go to our French Food section, click HERE.

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