BE it BOGOF deals, calorie-laden takeaways delivered to your door or the sweet treats lined up next to the checkout, there’s only one person who is responsible for putting any of it in your mouth – you.
Yet we now seem to have reached peak denial in this country where, according to the UN, an astonishing 63.7 per cent of adults are now overweight and 29.5 per cent are obese.
In Japan, where primary kids are given a nutritionally balanced lunch as part of a “good eating” programme and the national diet is heavy on vegetables, fish and rice in smaller portions than the UK — the obesity level is just 4.4 per cent.
But here, “It’s not my fault I’m clinically obese” seems to be the mantra. It’s the fault of the food industry, the Government, the supermarkets, the advertisers, yada yada yada.
Yes, all of these continue to play their part in Britain’s burgeoning waistline but, ultimately, taking personal responsibility for what you eat and how much you move will always be the deciding factor in whether an adult is healthy or fat.
Oops, I used the “F” word. It’s pretty much banned these days, particularly if you work in the medical profession, where any mention of a patient being overweight is treated as a personal slight that hurts feelings and might be actionable.
No matter that obesity related ill health is hurting the already beleaguered NHS to the tune of around £7billion each year — a figure set to rise to just under £10billion by 2050 if we don’t do something about it.
Last week, it was revealed that local councils spent £30million on weight-loss initiatives but only a risible 220 people actually shed the pounds. That’s an eye-watering £136,000 per person.
The diet industry makes billions from the misery merry-go-round of dieting and putting it back on again.
Some manage to keep the weight off — and all credit to them — but the fact that seven out of ten adults in England alone are now classed as “overweight” tells you that most either pile it back on or don’t even try shifting it in the first place.
Last week I bumped into an old acquaintance who I struggled to recognise because he’d shifted over 6st and was glowing with health compared with his old, red-faced and breathless self.
“How did you manage it?” I asked. “I ate less and started exercising,” he shrugged, as if it was the easiest thing in the world. It wasn’t, of course. It took an enormous amount of willpower, sacrifice and effort but he is now so much happier, will live longer and, hopefully, now won’t be needing the NHS-funded hip replacements he was heading for.
“Eat everything in moderation and move around more” might seem rather simplistic, but it works. And pretending that it’s someone else’s responsibility to facilitate your weight loss is helping no one.
Nor is the “love your body” industry that, as well as excellent work in promoting self-esteem among those who don’t fit the supermodel “ideal”, sometimes extends to celebrating the excessive folds of fat that are shortening certain people’s lifespan.
We should never make mean comments about someone’s weight. But equally, medics in particular should feel free to be honest about the harm caused by obesity — not just to the individual, but to the NHS and society as a whole.
Once we can discuss it openly, we can give people the help they need — be it just a little encouragement, access to therapy for those with a food addiction and, in extreme cases, a gastric bypass to limit food intake.
And once they have learned the benefits of eating in moderation and moving around more, they will pass on that lesson to the four in ten children, who are currently overweight, and hopefully save them from an adulthood blighted by ill health.
Obesity is a vicious cycle. And peddling the myth that it is everyone else’s responsibility rather than our own makes the problem even bigger.
Kylie’s nailing nappy changing…
THE Kardashian clan have issued a tranche of filtered photos from the wedding of Kourtney to Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker at the weekend.
Here’s Kylie, in a photo captioned “my baby’s got me,” which refers to her four-year-old daughter Stormi, who captured the moment.
Whether her three-month-old son was also with her in Italy has yet to be revealed.
But if so, those nails tell me she wasn’t changing any nappies.
GINO A GORDI TO ME
COMEDIAN Dom Joly has always been suspicious of chef Raymond Blanc’s strong French accent.
He says: “I have a sneaking suspicion that his real name is Ray White and that he has a family in Southend.
“Once he’s finished with the ‘professional Frenchman’ schtick, he drives home for some jellied eels and an evening at the dogs.”
I feel exactly the same way about telly chef Gino D’Acampo who, despite his comedically strong Italian accent, I have long suspected is really called Gordie Campbell and hails from Glasgow.
MY POV ON POA IS BIN IT
IF ever I had been invited on to that TV show Room 101, where you send things that irritate you to a place where the sun don’t don’t shine, the abbreviation POA would have been first on my list.
You come across the annoying acronym all the time while searching online for a new house or flat (or, in my case, just snooping at other people’s homes) and, apparently, it’s usually requested by the seller, who doesn’t want their neighbours to know how much they’re asking.
But a simple phone call to the agent will tell you, and the sale price will be easily traceable online afterwards, so what’s the point?
Now the National Trading Standards group has set out guidelines to outlaw the use of POA which, it suggests, is also used as a tactic to lure in buyers who might not be able to afford the property on offer.
So, RIP POA.
Buyers will have better protection and the rest of us can carry on snooping while remarking about a neighbour, “she wants how much for that old dump? The cheek of her”.
SNOW WAY TO THINK
ACCOUNTANCY giant KPMG is to give “inclusivity” training to staff which includes the advice not to discuss ski holidays, gap years or private schooling for fear of excluding those who can’t afford such life luxuries.
Yawn. As someone who went to state school, didn’t have a gap year and only went “skiing” (aka falling over) for the first time when I worked as a royal correspondent and followed Charles and Diana to Klosters, I can safely say, “what a load of old baloney”.
As a rookie reporter I worked with plenty of people who came from a supposed life of “privilege” and can safely say they displayed zero bias towards me – unconscious or otherwise.
And these days, “working class” credentials are the in- thing and you’re far more likely to get flak if you’re considered to be a “posh git”.
Whatever your background, telling anyone they should pretend to be something they’re not is just bloody patronising.
- THE waiting lists for allotments continues to, er, grow. The looming cost-of- living crisis is the cause, as people look to save money by becoming more self-sufficient. Mind you, there’s also a food shortage looming as the punitive cost of fertiliser prompts farmers to grow less. So what allotment owners save in food costs might yet be spent on security measures to stop others from nicking the fruits of their labour.
WHERE IS MINE?
BROTHERS Sri and Gopi Hinduja have topped the Sunday Times Rich List with a £28.472billion fortune from “industry and finance”.
Their father, a carpet and spice trader, started the business with the maxim of: “Everything belongs to everyone.”
In which case, a billion should suffice, thanks. My bank details are in the post.