OPINION: Fat chance we care about worrying obesity levels

8:30 PM May 5, 2022

There are so many international accolades that we as a nation would be proud to hold.

To top the obesity league as the world’s fattest nation in a decade should be the last, but that’s where we’re hurtling fast.

Arriving at the point where we rival the US in our gluttonous supersize habits is shameful. But do we even care?

Judging by our increasing obsession with turning into food delivery apps that send fat, sugar, and calorie-laden junk out in insulated bags to our doorsteps, along with demands to manufacturers to make bigger and bigger clothes, we couldn’t give a damn.

However much we are bombarded about the health – and death – risks of obesity, overeating rubbish remains a national pastime.

The most concern for the future of the overweight is by other people and public health, not the people carrying the weight.

The UK is now the third most overweight nation in the world. Carrying cardboard and foil containers to sofas to consume watching the TV or gaming is the only exercise some people get – and worryingly, they are perfectly happy about it.

Every time we eat a takeaway meal, we swallow 200 more calories a day than if we had prepared something home cooked.

In a week of takeaways – and, yes, some families rely on takeaways for their nutrition – children could be eating an extra day’s worth of calories.

Couple that with sitting gaming after school and at weekends, it makes a deadly cocktail for their size and future health. It’s having a huge impact on their health and bodies – literally.

Unsurprisingly, research shows that only one in 10 teenagers eats enough vegetables. Teenagers don’t tend to prepare their own meals, so this means parents are overlooking what their children’s needs for healthy live, possibly because it comes under the heading of too difficult and too much hassle.

Only 30 per cent of youngsters aged between 11 and 15 ate 100g of fruit, the equivalent of a fresh apple a day

Convenience of click ordering is killing the country. The Covid pandemic has made it worse.

What gives me chills is that carrying too much body fat is the main cause of disability.

Making yourself become disabled puts a whole new spin on the issue.

No one would willingly make themselves disabled if they knew there was another way, surely?

We all know increases the risk of many diseases, including 13 types of cancer, type-2 diabetes, heart problems and lung conditions, but causing your own disability?

Watch old film footage or pick up any vintage clothing and the stark contrast in the size of people today compared with 20, 30 or 40 years ago is marked.

We are where we were with smoking a decade ago. People are in denial, with fingers in their ears to the health warnings of being overweight, carrying on as if they know better.

Telling someone they could die just makes them shrug. However, telling people that by putting so much pressure on their joints by excess could leave them disabled might have more deterrent effect.

The truth is we simply don’t know how to eat properly, or how to cook.

Our so-called ‘national cuisine’ hasn’t helped to keep us lean over the years.

Fish and chips, steak and kidney pudding, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, roast pork, and crackling, spotted dick and custard, Cornish pasties and Victoria sponges don’t figure in the healthy eating guides.

Yet generations of slim people were brought up on all the above and bread and beef dripping – because they walked off the calories.

The big difference is how sedentary we are now, never burning off the food we eat.

The World Health Organization Regional Obesity Report 2022 says rates of overweight and obesity have reached “epidemic proportions. It estimates the problem is causing 1.2 million deaths every year in Europe.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that calorie counts on menus was killing the fun of eating out. Today, I eat my words. If seeing in black and white that a meal has twice the calories as another, it must do some good to make the best choices.

The ‘buy one, get one free’ (BOGOF) promotions will start to be phased out in the autumn after research showed they encouraged people to buy 20% more food than they needed.

Banning TV adverts for food high in sugar, salt, and fat before 9pm across the UK attacks that susceptibility and vulnerability.

There are so many reasons why people eat too much. For some, it is a lack of knowledge, others eat for comfort and people a lower metabolic rate do struggle.

Some people are brought up by feeders like me. I enjoy presenting people I love with plentiful home cooked food. My children and their friends could rarely dodge a roast chicken, shepherd’s pie, or Mexican feast.

All of us now are very conscious about what we eat and build exercise and sport into our lives, avoiding the big portions I would serve up because we all experienced the results

I realised quickly how managing the above stops the aches and pains of ageing like magic, only it’s no hidden powers involved.

It’s simple weight loss by eating less and moving more.

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