It is obvious in the short time I have been here in Knowlton in the Townships, that most people here are not fat.
The local junior school is just up the road and I have yet to see an obese child. I have not seen a single obese person in the last 4 weeks here.
This is a rural area. People drive all over. In the larger centres there are the usual Fast Food stations.
It is painfully obvious that this is not PEI where most people are at least well covered and many are obese.
So why the difference?
It is surely not that different than PEI other than the ancestry of the people. Here they are mainly English and French. On PEI they are mainly Scots and Irish. Ancestry is important.
We can't change who we are. But here is a clue that may help Islanders.
More and more evidence is available that shows that we are strongly influenced by our networks. If you have fat or thin friends they influence you. Here is a summary of this concept.
Obesity can spread from person to person, much like a virus, according to researchers. When one person gains weight, close friends tend to gain weight too.
Their study, published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved a detailed analysis of a large social network of 12,067 people who had been closely followed for 32 years, from 1971 until 2003. The investigators knew who was friends with whom, as well as who was a spouse or sibling or neighbor, and they knew how much each person weighed at various times over three decades.
That let them watch what happened over the years as people became obese. Did their friends also become obese? Did family members? Or neighbors?
The answer, the researchers report, was that people were most likely to become obese when a friend became obese. That increased one's chances of becoming obese by 57 percent.
There was no effect when a neighbor gained or lost weight, however, and family members had less of an influence than friends. It did not even matter if the friend was hundreds of miles away - the influence remained. And the greatest influence of all was between mutual close friends. There, if one became obese, the other had a 171 percent increased chance of becoming obese too.
The same effect seemed to occur for weight loss, the investigators say, but since most people were gaining, not losing, over the 32 years, the result was an obesity epidemic.
So - following this - if Islanders can work to get a critical mass of people to lose weight - the whole process can start to unwind.
I am sure that the issue is even more complex but this may help get a start.