In the 1980s, thanks to Soviet agricultural support, most Cubans consumed 3000 to 3200 calories a day.
However, when the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, Cuban farming struggled to fill the gap. In addition, gas was in such short supply that most public bus routes were eliminated.
Castro responded by declaring a special period (“periodo especial”) that included food rationing, the promotion of small-scale gardens and the distribution of more than 1 million Chinese-made bicycles.
The food shortage was severe enough that per-person calorie consumption dropped to about 2400 calories a day in the 1990s, and typical adults lost about 4.5kg.
At the same time, they had to exercise more by walking or riding bikes instead of taking buses. The number of Cubans meeting exercise guidelines climbed to 80 percent.
What a great model. Have food and fuel shortages and you solve obesity!