David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville, TN (865) 450-9253
HKB Knoxville Staff

Denmark Through the Eyes of a Plastic Surgeon

Cyclers in Copenhagen Denmark
As Lisa and I travel, one of the things we enjoy the most is getting to know people from different countries and different cultures. And one of the things that we are always struck by is how similar people are at their very core. There is so much more that unites us than separates us. And yet there are always some things that differ from one nationality to another. So here’s my look at the Danes, our new friends.

Diet and exercise: the Danish way of life
The Danes are an attractive people. First of all they are quite friendly. We did not meet a single soul who was not kind, except for that dude who almost ran us down on his bike as we were leaving our hotel today, but I never really met  him. Physically the Danes are very fit. This comes from their diet and their lifestyle. There is a great deal of fish in their diet and very little fast food. Additionally, they are very outdoors-oriented, when they can be. One of the things about Denmark is that they have a very long winter and can have a number of cloudy days in the summer. So they really take advantage of all the sunlight they can get. When its sunny, they are doing things outside.

And they all get a lot of exercise. The principle form of transportation is by bicycle. So everyone is getting a bit of a workout everywhere they go. Even in the winter, most people are getting around by bike. (We spent a day on bike with a guide touring the city and it is definitely the way to go.) As a result, the Danes are quite healthy. I have seen no obese Danes, and very few who were overweight.

Safety first;  sort of…
You will not find many Danes who text and drive. Why? Because most do not own cars and are getting around by bicycle. However, we did see a number of  them texting and cycling. Another thing, most of the people biking around the city of Copenhagen were not wearing helmets. In part this is because there are protected lanes for bicycles and they have the right of way. The only thing I saw a bike yield for was a baby carriage.

But there’s another interesting sidelight on this. They tired to institute a helmet law for cyclists and the result was a huge drop in the number of people using bicycles. Then it was determined that the beneficial cardiovascular affects of cycling on the Danish population significantly outweighed the safety benefits of helmets.

The eye of the plastic surgeon
One of the things I naturally do, as a plastic surgeon, is to look at people especially as  it involves facial  structure and  body shape. As I mentioned, the Danes are an attractive people. They are fit, and most have slim figures, fairly long legs without a lot of upper body mass. They also have very good-looking skin. This is probably due to the fact that there is not a lot of sunlight year around. Also, I saw no one with a store bought tan, or any tanning salons.

But it is the facial structure that interests me the most. Being a small country, they have a relatively small gene pool. (Iceland’s is smaller which is why they have an app that will tell you if you are related to someone you might meet. No joke.)  So there are similarities in their facial appearance, almost an iconic look. What  I noticed was a lot of blond hair, fairly tall foreheads (or at least no low hairlines), prominent cheek bones, and slender lower faces.

All in all, the Danes are an attractive and warm people. Nice folks to share the planet with.

All the best,

Dr. David B. Reath



David B. Reath, MD

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