On Thursday’s class, one of the themes developed through the discussion was how food and especially calories make students feel guilty about what they eat. Being an exchange student from France, I would like to express to you my point of view on food and develop some of the French policies related to it.
In France, eating is seen as a social experience. Having lunch and dinner is the best part of the day because you get to meet people, speak with them and enjoy a good home-made meal. Even if France has a strong and long-lasted culture of food, obesity is still a plague in our society, but the answers giving to it are very different from the US.
First, in France, calories are not written in big letters on food products, and not written at all if restaurants or coffees. In America, I have discovered how to feel guilty about eating a single chocolate bar. France has a very different way to fight against unhealthy food. The government is putting stripes at the bottom of all the food-related ads (on TV or on papers) saying “You must eat 5 vegetables and fruits per day and do exercise”, and also it sponsorsing ads for healthy food that are broadcast between regular ads, such as this one:
Moreover, the European Union has taken in 2009 a charter asking all the member-countries to put filter on ads for children and teenagers, especially junk food ad to fight against obesity. I don’t claim that one country is dealing in a better way with the topic of obesity and health, but I believe that education has a lot to do with it.