Virginia Postrel makes an observation that I’ve made many times myself:
Take health care, a fast-growing industry. While the doctors may be slim, in my admittedly unscientific experience, the typical support person–whether a nurse, a technician, or a paper processor–is seriously overweight. And it’s not as though people who work in hospitals and doctor’s offices don’t know being obese is dangerous.
Her partial explanation for the growing level of obesity in society is certainly plausible:
A leading candidate is the changing nature of work, with more people sitting in chairs all day. When my father started work as an industrial engineer in the late 1950s, he was told that the typical factory worker walked six miles in the course of a day’s work; walk that much and you’re unlikely to get fat. Work today is more pleasant, and less taxing, but instead of getting paid to exercise, you have to use leisure time to burn calories.