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America Makes You Fat

Coming to America causes immigrants to gain weight. A lot of weight. And not just because our food is so bad for you.

America Makes You Fat

People come to America for freedom, for jobs, for the hope of a better life. But when they get here, they realize that our best offering may be our fatty, calorie laden meals, and, to fit in, they start eating a lot of them.

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Immigrants to America’s very fatty shores typically take about 15 years to get to our level of flabbiness from where they were when they arrived. But they do, it’s inevitable. The reason for this extra weight isn’t simply because we make bad food available cheaply, and so immigrants eat it. They’re probably capable of eating their native food, which kept them at a healthy weight. Instead, they choose the Big Mac because they want to fit in. Then they get fat. Welcome to America!

The new study found that people challenged on their “Americanness” were far more likely to subsequently to order hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches rather than their native food. It’s a bit of a tenuous connection, but even if it’s marginally true, it should give us pause.

Is the quintessence of the United States now a hamburger? And not just a grilled cheese, but a series of grilled cheese that over 15 years lead to a fat person: the true symbol of America. It’s probably a function of our most visible export being fast food. We’re supposed to be the shining city on a hill, not a city on the hill, shiny from grease.

Photo from Flickr user Byte Rider

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About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Impact section, formerly FastCoExist.com. Have an idea for a story? You can reach him at mclendaniel [at] fastcompany.com

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