In The Face Of Famine, India’s Obesity Epidemic

This article on India’s rising obesity epidemic (partially due to the in-flux of cheap Western fast food) is sure to make you hungry. We’re tempted, in fact, to simply blockquote every time the writer succulently describes some sweet, sticky indulgence gobbled up by New Delhi’s swelling armada of obese Hindis. Apparently, it is very common for Indians to snack on “‘skim’ milk with the thickness of cream” and “muffins the size of a baby’s head” or “desserts with names such as “double excess chocolate mousse” and “penalty.”” My god, it’s full of stars. Gastronomists: time to move to India.

Really, although our quasi-journalistic duty is to cluck our tongues disparagingly at the fast food companies making India the first country in the world with both massive famine problems and massive obesity problems — it’s just so hard when the food sounds so good. So read the article and fill in the tongue clucking noises yourself. It’s actually highly entertaining. Here’s the opening quote:

When K.K. Bhagat spotted his one-time classmate, he was not sure it was her. In the past 20 years, she had gained 70 pounds. He had put on 75.

“Oh, my God, she used to be this beautiful girl. She used to be perfect. I wondered if she was the same girl,” Bhagat said as the woman frowned.

Smooooooooooooth, Bhagat.


Edit Your Comment

  1. mrscolex says:

    People like to say that our economy is in the crapper beacuse of outsourcing, and importing of cheap goods from outside of the country (china). On the other hand, I like to think that our chief export is our viral culture– that picture is absolutely priceless. Open up a McDonalds everywhere, I say. Making their babies fat is a small price to pay for them stealing our jobs ;)

    We hear the stories about people in France all up in arms about McD’s and people across the globe hating us, and by extension, McDonalds because it is a symbol of the USA’s viral culture.

    What you don’t hear about are the people in places like the Ukraine, who, according to a relative of mine who does missionary work there (yes, this is completely hearsay), people left the store in tears because of the customer service they had received. It was certainly a class issue for them, not because of how poor the service was, but how EXCELLENT the service was– now everyone, even some of the relatively poor people, could enjoy food at the local McD’s. What we take for granted, people saying please and thank you and have a nice day, these are things that are often-times overlooked in other countries.

    Furthermore, McDonalds tries to include many of the local suppliers for their food chain in those types of areas, making it a win/win situation across the board.

  2. Mechalith says:

    It would be a win/win if the food weren’t crap, AND terrible for you, and the people were getting something worthwhile out of the exchange. I dont think basic decency should be a selling point. As it is, I think most other countries have good reason to dislike our culture, especially the more viral aspects.

  3. Noel Tribune says:

    McDonalds in India is still pretty pricey and is far out of reach for much of the population. It’s a rather upscale place there, with clean bathrooms, fancy lighting, and lots of air conditioning. It’s the sort of place you might take a first date (not that there is a lot of dating) or go for your kid’s birthday party when you want to impress all the other parents at your local school.

    Hiring is limited to very attractive young people. The menu (which is heavy on veggie items and doesn’t have beef) is a bit of a trip.

    But anyway, my point is they didn’t need us to create an obesity epidemic (and McDonalds and such things are unhead of outside of the major cities.) I doubt this is a new thing and it can be found in any culture with an huge income gap (an outsourced employee might make $500 a month- a poor person may see ten cents in a week.) Any culture that uses butter as a primary fat and uses some form of full-fat yogurt in every nearly meal (not to mention using starches as’s not hard to eat ten chapatis in a meal) is going to have some obesity. Especially if they are a culture that dotes on kids and rarely denies them anything.

    It’s a common joke that women stay thing while they are unmarried, and then plump right up. And fat isn’t always bad there. Much like America used to, many Indians consider fat to be a sign of wealth and health. I remember reading one Bollywood actress bemoaning that she had to stay chubby to make it in the box office.

  4. AcidReign says:

    …..Mickey D’s is struggling in my state. It’s gone too health-conscious! Southern folks won’t eat it if it’s not fried or bar-b-qued! And if you think that Indian child is fat, go to any local elementary school in Alabama and look at the children…