Abigail Saguy, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has studied attitudes toward appearance in the United States and France, said that obesity is seen in France as a sign of being out of control.
“Even if you’re not heavy, you can receive criticism if you are eating in a way that is perceived as out of control, such as not at meal times,” she said, citing a book whose French author described with horror seeing Americans eating alone, or at any time of day.
“France is a very rules-based society,” Ms. Saguy said. “There are rules about eating in France, about mealtimes, and you need to follow the rules.”
–Alissa J. Rubin “Memoir of Growing Up Fat Forces France to Look in the Mirror” The New York Times