By Matthew Yglesias
Catherine Rampell posts the following chart showing the relationship between the number of minutes per day the average person in a given country spends eating, and the percentage of the population with a BMI of over 30:
I think this sort of shows the pitfalls of drawing lines through scatterplots. Another way of looking at it is that of the countries charter, the Asian ones are all skinnier than the continental European ones and the Europeans are all skinnier than the Anglophones.
Another way of looking at it is to take pairs of culturally similar countries—the United States and Canada, for example—and see what you find. Well, the US and Canada score very similarly on the speed of eating metric, but the US is way fatter than Canada. Korea and Japan look similar on BMI, but pretty different on length of time spent eating.
Long story short, I’m skeptical that there’s a very strong relationship here.