Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why Are Americans So Obese? A Theory

In most of the world, the most popular sport is soccer (or "football", if you want to believe the people who actually play it), a sport in which players run from one end of a field to the other for hours on end.

"Has anyone seen the goal?"
In Ethiopia they play a game called gena, which is basically field hockey with the goals several miles apart.
"OK, shirts take Kenya, skins take Djibouti, and anyone who doesn't hustle takes a lap"

In Mexico's copper canyons, the Tarahumara play rarajipari, a kick-ball race frequently covering dozens of miles of rugged terrain.
They're laughing because they thought "40 miles" was a joke
Many southwestern tribes (the Hopi, Zuni, etc.) played a similar game using a small stick, appropriately called kick stick races.
Sports nutrition was a lot trickier before they had Gatorade

And what is the national pastime of the USA? Baseball, a sport in which players sit in on a bench and eat.
Heartburn is a constant danger
What's that, you say football is actually more popular? OK, make that football, a sport in which most of the players stand in one place and briefly shove each other in between breaks.
"Well, I'm beat.  Who's up for a snack?"

So to recap, the Tarahumara play rarajipari:
Ethiopians play gena:
Hopis play kick stick:
Brazilians play soccer:
...and Americans play baseball/football:

Can anyone spot the pattern?  I'll give you a hint--it starts with "R" and ends with "unning."

That's right!


  1. Man, even walking a lot will do.

    I didn't know that Adriana Lima played football...

    1. All Brazilians do--that's why they're so thin.

    2. Hi, I am a real Brazilian :)

      I played soccer as a kid. I don't play soccer anymore. I am a runner now. It is much easier to find a place to run than to find 10-20 guys and a soccer field to play soccer.

      Kids nowadays do not play soccer as much as I did when I was a kid. That's because there is less soccer fields around. I fear for them. Brazilians are getting fatter.

    3. Well, America's biggest export does seem to be obesity; maybe you're shipping it in from the U.S.

  2. I just realized I should clarify something about baseball. It used to be a sport where players sit on a bench and chew tobacco, but then we decided that that didn't set a healthy example for kids so we changed it to sitting on a bench and eating. Much healthier.

  3. Hi John
    Thanks for this post, it made me smaile. We are just the same in the UK or at least catching up fast. I have just listed it as one of my 5 best barefoot posts of the week at
    Happy running

    1. Thanks--I'm honored. BTW, I checked out your website and it looks great.