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The United States got some good news this past week – it is no longer the most obese developed nation in the world, according to the U.N. Mexico is now the heavyweight champion of the industrialized world.
As countries develop, one unfortunate side effect is that their people also grow fatter. Look at the rich Gulf states. The U.N.’s latest numbers have 42.8 percent of Kuwait's adult population obese. That's compared with 31.8 percent in the U.S., 35.2 percent in Saudi Arabia, and 33.1 percent in Qatar. And with Ramadan starting this past week and the fasting that comes with it, amazingly the problem only gets worse. Qataris' grocery bills are said to double during Ramadan as people fast but then gorge during breakfast.
So Qatar has decided to do something about the problem. The solution – a campaign to get its people moving. At least 10,000 steps a day. But how to do that in a country where summer temperatures top 120 degrees Fahrenheit? Well, walk in air-conditioned malls. They’ve set out courses with maps that tell you how far you've traveled, all in shopping malls.
Now, here's the bad news. We've tried this in America, and obviously it hasn't worked.