(Iraq is somewhat quieter these days, but what have these years of relentless violence down to the Iraqi physique?) Well most Iraqis have not gone out much, particularly during the years of sectarian warfare in 2006. there were curfews and the danger of being kidnapped so people didn't go out much. (You talked about the extremes that some Iraqis are going to for dealing with their weight problem, such as gastric band surgery which is different than gastric bypass surgery.) Gastric band surgery is a simple process whereby the surgeon places a band around the person's stomach and shrinks the stomach dramatically so you can only eat a certain amount. There's only doctor that's doing the surgery in Iraq right now. (What about going to a health gym?) That's not an option so much here, especially during more violent times. Secondly there are problems with electricity here which makes something like running on a treadmill more difficult. The other problem particularly for women is that society is quite conservative and women can't go jogging for example. (Do you think Iraq is heading towards coach potato-dom?) Yes, the proliferation of cable TV has not helped. Since the fall of Hussein, everyone watches TV, which has made Iraqis a lot more self-conscious but at the same time they love their TVs. Before TV, Iraqis went out a lot more, and now they do tend to watch TV more.
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