Germany vs. USA, who is healthier?


In many ways, Germany has got it right healthwise but in some ways its so incredibly wrong. In Germany every street has its own dedicated bike lane. Because bike transportation is so fast and easy, many people commute by bike and in doing so get that important daily exercise. Similarly, because public transit is so cheap and fast, many people use it and in doing so end up walking to and from stations- again getting their daily cardio. Even non-athletic people seem to slways be walking in the parks, it seems to be a national past time.

Another plus for Germany is they are much more concious of their food quality. In the USA, nobody seems to care that most of our corn is genetically modified, in Germany it would cause riots if anybody tried to sell it. In Germany they had “organic” (known here as “Bio”) foods long before the movement started in America.

OK, enough “Atta-boys” for Germany lets talk dirt. Biggest health issue I see in Germany is that they are a nation of chain smokers. Smokers are everywhere! I think that kids are probably given cigarettes insted of lolly-pops. Just incredible! Germany is about 30 years behind the USA on this critical health issue. I never saw a single anti -smoking ad in Germany which probably explains high percentage of smokers. Anti-smoking campaigns DO prevent teens from becoming addicted! Rather than discouraging smoking, this photo shows how smoking is encouraged and quitting is made almost impossible. This is an automatic cigarette vending machine at the supermarket. Just push the button for your desired brand and the pack is shot down the chute at the end onto the belt for you. How evil is that? Its bad enough that candy is at the checkout line but to make people stare at their favorite brand for minutes on end while waiting in line is just cruel. Cigarettes are addictive and very few people have the willpower to resist reaching out and pushing that button. At least in the USA, the cigarettes are somewhat hidden from view and you have to remember to ask for them when you are at the register.

Health Scoreboard:

Germany – 2
America. – 1

35 thoughts on “Germany vs. USA, who is healthier?”

  1. The bikelanes on the sidewalks are dangerous as hell. most cycler die on these things, cause cycler drive on the wrong side or get killed by cars turning right into streets where the bikelanes passes the street. statistics says they are 2-11 times more dangerous than the streets.

    its good that they build less of these lanes and more lanes on the street and not on the sidewalk. bycycles are made for the street, not for the sidewalk.

    they start to make laws against smoking in public. but the cafes and pubs call theirselfs smokerclubs, so this is a loophole.

  2. BTW in the Netherlands you can buy alcohol AND cigarettes at the age of 16! Came back today and it is worse over there than here in Germany. In NL almost everyone had a cigarette in his/her hand, not the case here.

  3. actually, scoobys health-count is wrong, it should end up
    3:1 for germany, because he listed bike lanes, public transport and organic food as advantages, while the US only got hidden cigarettes. ;)

  4. i am from austria so i dont really know how the situation is at our northern neighbours

    is it really that extreme?

    i konw cigarettes wending machines but not in this size AND NOT AT THE SUPERMARKET!!!!

    as far as i know there will be EU wide anti-somking campains including fe warnings on the packaging – they even discuss about adding pictures of cancer a.s.

    but face it … austrians are hardcore somkers too – and that really REALLY SUCKS!!!

  5. in the end it`s still your choice what to buy and where to buy it. i rarely buy candy bars which are in germany in every single supermarket…at the register! and i stare at them too thinking: f*%$ you!

  6. Even for being smokers and daily alcohol consumers, they live longer than most of the fat people around here.

  7. The goverment quiet does not want the smokers to quit, because the taxes you pay on legal drugs here in Germany are very high. They would loose very very much money! But at least you must not smoke in bars, discos and so on. AND you have to identify yourself that your are 18 years old (full aged) to buy cigarettes.

  8. Hey Scoob,

    personally I'd say that the US are far behind Germany referring to 'Health' in general.

    But smoking is a bad thing over here, I see so many young people of my age and sometimes even 13-14 years old people who somehow manage to get them… Yet the situation has improved over the last years, there are a lot of non-smoking communities and many more laws that ban smoking e.g. from restaurants, diners etc.!

    We're heading in the right direction for quite some time now, the only "good" (?) thing about smoking are the taxes the smokers need to pay.

    A smoke-free Germany would be great, but that's an utopia.

  9. Ok, you are right with that machines, but commercials for cigarettes are forbitten for over 10 years now.
    What does a pack of cigarettes cost in USA? In Germany it's about 4-5 Euro and the most part is the tax which is ironicly used to support the health system. Germany is fighting against the evil smoke by pushing the price, but on the other hand it depends on the taxes. In my opinion, smoking is the same personal thing like being fat.

  10. I think that besides smoking, a healthy way of living is much more prevalent in Germany than it is in the U.S., as was pointed out earlier. The problem is that since universal health care pays all the bills caused by obesity, there is actually no incentive for fat people to get off their butts and do something about it. Neither is a healthy way of living rewarded, because why should you care to live healthy if the doctors fix you later anyway?
    On the other hand, I really don't understand how so many Americans are obviously indifferent about their health, since they have to pay for the effects themselves. Seems to be a contradiction to me.

  11. Great stuff. I love learning about countries. I've been to germany as well but for some reason never noticed the cig vending machines. Maybe it's because it was a small town :s

  12. I live in germany and I must say it is one of the unhealthiest countries in western europe.. however the smoking is worse in southern european countries such as spain. New research has shown that smoking (especially among youngsters) is becoming less popular rapidly in germany. Its true that the US is far ahead on that issue, but when it comes to food and obesity, health care etc. most of europe its the other way round.

  13. Oh yeah Scooby, please tell everybody where you are, and your phone number and your social security number. Jeez, why are people so into stalking? Can somebody who is famous for posting videos on the internet not walk around without people wanting to know where he is and meet him?

  14. hey scooby i'm a german fan. it would be cool if you could tell the city you are currently in and where you're headed.

  15. Another problem in Germany is the alcoholicproblem!
    You ar allowed to drink in a age of 16!

    ps:Can you show us a map of your trip?

  16. I understand your concerns about the cigs, ya they are unhealthy… But in all honesty the "American way of life", fast food and chemical treated foods will kill you quicker then 2 packs a day.

    I would rather smoke then eat the crap that most Americans eat per day, McDonalds and Burgerking will kill you quicker then cancer.

    Germany has 100x more healthy food options, a million times more Bio food stores and the majority of Germans dont eat fast food on a daily basis.

    Walk around Scooby, see many fat kids? fat adults? fat elderly? … Prob not.. Last time I was in North America I thought I just entered the land of beer bellies and 200lb 12yr olds. Trust me, they will die or cause more health costs then the salad eating smoker next to them.

  17. To the Anonymous guy above me, don't worry. You're anonymous!

    To the other Anonymous guy, I don't think I've been to a supermarket in the U.S. where they don't have entire stands of fruit (including apples). Sure, they may not all be organic, but they're plentiful and usually pretty cheap.

    From what I've seen in my home country–Romania–unhealthy fast food is starting to gain popularity (you would only find a few McDonald's across the country when I left in 2004. Now, they've got McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, and other unhealthy places to eat, and they're getting upsettingly popular.) And the thing is, they are actually as expensive as restaurants; in fact, they're kind of a luxury for the average person, yet people still go there and indulge on the most unhealthy things they could, when there are also markets with farmers who bring their homegrown, healthy produce to sell cheap every day. It's sad to see this happen.

  18. I've yet to see anti-smoking ads on german television. I used to smoke when i was 16 (yeah, sound fucked up i now) to 19 but then i quit pretty easily. I guess i am one lucky guy to be able to stop smoking immediately. Anyways, i've never thought that cigarettes are so much "harder" to get in the US. +1 for USA in that department.

  19. I don't think you can conclude that anti-smoking campaigns are necessarily the reason Germany is smoking more than the US. I think its mainly due to an innate cultural attitude Americans have toward drugs, tobacco, and alcohol that stops us from using those products.

  20. Hey Scooby,
    it's so great you are here in Germany! I'am watching your videos for a long time and I'am really a big fan! :-)
    When you come to Munich, how about meeting for a protein shake! You can be my guest, and I can also show you anything in Munich!
    Kind regards, Martin

  21. America is a nation of commuters. Think about the fact Germany is about the size of Montana. It's a cultural difference due to geography. Though, in Germany's case, a healthy difference as you pointed out.

    I'm a little confused about how genetically modified food is a bad thing. You do know they can modify foods to be MORE nutritious, right? I don't see how there is a downside to it. What is "unhealthy" about it?

  22. heiliger_strohsack

    And we have a better healthcare system too. So some of the smokes are able to become a second chance.

  23. as far as i know there are anti-smoking ads in germany, but you rarely see them in public, they are rather on the cigarette packs themselves. there are warnings printed on every pack (for example "Rauchen ist tödlich" = smoking kills) and also disturbing images of like lung cancer and other health consequences from smoking

  24. In Canada we just recently passed a law that requires all stores selling cigarettes to cover them up with a cloth so that they're not visible. At first I thought it was extreme, but now after reading your post I can see the point behind it.

  25. Even at the Oktoberfest… NO SMOKING, since first of august!
    But you´re right with the supermaket thing, we REALY have to change thist immediately!

  26. and its ridiculous to state that america is healthier…the only apples I was able to buy there where sold with caramel sirup…(in a normal supermarket)…

  27. PumpingGartenzwerg

    yeah and in addition you need your pass when you want to buy them AND you have to ask the cashier to unlock the vending machine…

  28. Your right scooby. But you maybe wanna know this: We are fighting this problem since the last few years. Its no longer allowed to smoke in restaurants or bars.

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