It is a matter of education and social level, nutritionist Cocaul said. "Obesity increases in France, but it does not equally affect all the social classes," said Cocaul. "Lower-income families, lesser-educated people and members of immigrant communities run higher risks of being overweight."
For some parents, sweets and chocolate are the only treats they can afford for their children, he said.
"The solution is probably more education," Cocaul said.
Children take on food habits at early ages, Cocaul said, and if their parents cannot set a good example for them, it is up to their teachers to teach them healthier eating habits.
During the week, "the French tend to eat faster and more often in front of their television set," Cocaul said.
But on weekends, "the French still like having quality-food dinners with friends and family," he said.
"The French get away with eating a lot of fat. They eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of wine, but they still manage to have very low cholesterol levels. That's the French paradox."