France's obesity crisis: All those croissants really do add up, after all


When the bestselling book French Women Don't Get Fat came out in 2004, it was yet another occasion to begrudge Gallic females, who could always say oui to pâté, brie, and crème brûlée without ever having to get their Hermès skirts altered. It didn't help that the book's author, Mireille Guiliano, was then CEO of Clicquot (as in the champagne Veuve Clicquot) and was herself fabulously thin -- and wealthy.

But was the book a hoax? A new report shows that the French are really getting fatter, just like the rest of us. Some 26% of French women are now considered overweight, and 15.1% are clinically obese, reports the survey, conducted by WPP's (WPPGY) market-research arm TNS Sofres Healthcare and Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche (RHHBY). Of French men, a whopping 38.5% are overweight, and 13.9% are obese. "We are going to continue to see obesity increase," study researcher Marie-Aline Charles told Le Monde. "It's like a steamship that's been launched and can't quickly be stopped."