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The Top 5 International Travel Myths & Stereotypes Debunked

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Don’t let old cliches and cultural biases influence how you see the world. Not all Brazilians are skinny, not all Asians prefer bicycles and no the Middle East isn’t a dangerous war zone. The facts don’t lie, so we asked Cedar Attanasio to put together the most convincing case against some of the most common myths. It’s not just about travel, but your understanding of the world as a global citizen.

Myth 1: All Brazilians Are Skinny

Image credit Flickr Creative Commons, user Iko

In my imagination Brazilians are fit, tan, bikini-filling babes and capoeira-dancing hunks. Who can blame me for buying this myth? Since The Girl From Ipanema (supermodel Heloísa Pinheiro), through 30 Miss Universe finalists, and on to sex-laced films like The City of God, we’ve always been taught that Brazilians are the finest in the world.

The myth was partially true in the past.

As Brazil’s economy has improved, its citizens are eating more and exercising less.

One in seven Brazilians was considered obese 2009, according to a study published in the International Journal of Public Health. The Telegraph reports that by 2020 Brazilians could be as overweights Americans.

The consequence of an American-sized gut? American-sized healthcare costs, diabetes rates, cancer incidences, and liver disease occurrence. Oh, and an increased demand for plus-sized bathing suits.

There is a silver lining to Brazil’s bulging cloud. Undernourishment isway, way down. Improved appetites reflect the development of the country in the past two decades, a modest increase in wealth equality, and a decrease in crime.

And no, obese Brazilians shouldn’t crush your travel plans. After all, you were probably planning on visiting Brazil for its real treasures: its abundant diversity of the Amazon, the vibrant city life, and the gorgeous beaches from Sao Paulo, to San Salvador. Right?