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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The obesity epidemic

The Conservatives today said they wouldn't inflict a "nanny state" by intervening to stop the obesity epidemic. This sparked an interesting debate on the Jeremy Vine show, which normally I avoid like the plague. Anne Diamond, the former broadcaster who had her stomach stapled or a gastric band or whatever, is now some sort of obesity spokeswoman, and she sparked off some new thinking for me by highlighting that obesity is also a major problem in countries like Australia and Japan.

Previously I had blamed the obesity problem on previous governments selling off school playing fields; on schools stopping domestic science, so that nobody knows how to cook nowadays, and the fact that nasty old junk food is actually addictive, as proven in "Supersize Me" where the guy's mouth would start salivating every time he went near MacDonald's.

There's obviously some wider social issues at play and it's gratifying to know it's not just Britain that is becoming a nation of lardasses.

Predictably, several listeners rang up to say that fat people should simply eat less, but when food is used as an emotional crutch, it's much harder to say no. I speak from experience as I used to be a bit of a lardass myself but in the last four years have more or less eaten sensibly and exercised. Occasionally half a stone creeps back on, because food is damned enjoyable and I enjoy eating my way round the nation's restaurants, but then I have to rein myself in and go back on the Gillian McKeith regime.

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