tv Worldfocus WHUT November 25, 2009 7:21pm-7:30pm EST
quadruple the number of diabetes in greece in the last four decades, according to dr. stavros pappas whose clinic in this state-run hospital in athens sees some 10,000 patients, most of them overweight, each year. >> translator: today in greece, there's a lack of exercise. the family spends hours sitting around on the couch watching tv. and the younger generation spends hours in front of a computer. >> reporter: are fast food restaurants part of the problem? >> yes. >> translator: all the fast food and home deliveries change the greek philosophy of food and lifestyle. >> reporter: that's because their work habits have changed. longer hours, more households where both parents now work outside the home. the result -- more diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke. dr. pappas tries to teach his patients good habits but knows firsthand how difficult it is. >> translator: i'm overweight. however, all my social life revolves around food.
if i go out with my friends, we end up eating at a taverna. >> reporter: dr. antonia trichopoulous who directs the world health organization's collaborating center for nutrition here says the greek fixation on food is partly explained by history. >> the generation after the second world war, they wanted to feed their children because they have gone through starvation and they wanted to give their children as much food as possible. >> reporter: okay. so this is the mediterranean diet. she says the greek government recognizes the problem and is acting to educate both parents and children about good habits with tv ads like this. ♪ in the school canteen, she says, they're replacing sodas and saturated fats with more traditional greek foods. the government is also
documenting traditional ways of eating and cooking, which it says are disappearing. in greece's big cities today, trichopoulous says, almost half the meals are now eaten outside the home. >> it's a fact that you cannot ignore. so wa we're thinking is just improve what fast foods they offer. >> reporter: that's precisely the goal of this souvlaki restaurant in athens' fashionable kolonaki district where food critic dimitrius antonopoulos brought us. they can indulge here without guilt. >> here we have souvlaki on the pita. they call it lifestyle light. >> reporter: whole grain pita. >> yeah. >> reporter: instead of processed flour pita. >> yes. >> reporter: they even serve salad on a stick here with plenty of vegetables. >> you have a really tasteful meal. you appreciate what you have. >> reporter: you are saying that if people would pay more attention to what they're eating, they wouldn't get so fat. >> yes.
because if you are indifferent, you just eat everything. >> reporter: that's the same rule we heard back on crete. slow food, not fast. this man is so committed to his ancestral diet, he's helping preserve this mountain village vamos, as an agritourism center, where cooking classes regularly promote the old style of eating. our lunch took several hours to prepare, more if you count the shopping. and it was worth every delicious second. this, say supporters of the mediterranean diet, is the only way to get greeks back to the weight and the mind-set of their heritage. >> eating is not only to feed yourse. it's a social procedure. it's a nice time to spend your time with you friends and your family, to talk, to philosophize. and you can't with an empty stomach, as you know. remember the ancient greeks. all the big philosophers they were drinking and eating when they were philosophizing, you
know. >> reporter: i'm lynn sherr for "worldfocus" in vamos, crete. that's "worldfocus" for this wednesday night. we hope you had your fill. and don't forget you can join us online at worldfocus.org. i'm martin savidge in new york. as always, thank you very much for joining us. we'll look for you again tomorrow and any time on the internet. have a wonderful thanksgiving. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com major support for "worldfocus" has been provided by rosalind p. walter anthe peter g. peterson foundation, dedicated to promoting fiscal responsibility and addressing key economic challenges facing america's future. and additional funding is provided by the following supporters --