Processed food vs. fresh food; U.S. vs. the world

By Ezra Klein

This New York Times graphic breaking down the consumption of different types of packaged and non-packaged food in different countries is too big to reproduce here, but well worth taking a couple of minutes to stare at. But though the graph is focused on food categories, it also shows the quantity eaten by people in different countries. So I made a new graph out of that, which you can see atop this post. The surprise, to me, was that Americans aren’t consuming much more food that residents of other developed nations. Indeed, we’re neck-and-neck with the Spanish, but not belly-to-belly: According to OECD data (pdf), our obesity rate (34.3 percent) is more than twice theirs (14.9 percent).

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