Save the Children from the Curse of Obesity
WESTERN SOCIETY IS fucked, and they don't even know it. According to NHS records, obesity-related hospital admissions have more than doubled in six years to more than 3,000 individuals every day, highlighting the enormity of Britain's weight problem.
It is alarming the number of overweight NHS staff you see working in hospitals and doctors' surgeries. Look around the House of Commons; it will tell you the obesity problem has nothing to do with poverty or being disadvantaged.
Politicians provide sound bites and lies to win votes. Vacuous Instagrammers have more followers than newspapers and magazines; people follow like sheep. We as a nation are openly walking into an abyss of sickness and chronic ill health in old age because the food industry is making people sick with ultra-processed foods as addictive as smoking, and the big pharmaceuticals are keeping people alive and dependent on drugs to increase their profits. What hope does the general population have to keep weight off?
Few people choose to be overweight, which is not simple to resolve. There are so many reasons why people become obese and why they find it difficult to lose weight and keep it off for good. Public shaming and punitive measures certainly won't help matters further.
Having a choice about what and how much to eat is a privilege. Cooking a meal from scratch and eating around a table instead of grazing have skipped a generation or two.
Combine that with fast food and microwave meals, ultra-high processed snacks, a plethora of foods to choose from in supermarkets, the increasing prevalence of takeaways, people working longer hours, and a much more sedentary lifestyle, and you have a perfect storm for a growing population.
Save the Children
Schools are the place to start. Children are not naturally addicted to exercise, apart from a small percentage. They eat more and exercise less as they approach double figures in age.
At primary school in 60s London, we had one 'fat kid' in the entire school. Riding my bicycle last week, I passed Charing Cross Hospital, and I was shocked at the number of young women, in particular, who were grossly overweight. This didn't just happen; it started at a young age.
Young children should never be obese, as their parents have complete control (or 95% control) of their kids' energy balance. So, I find it unacceptable that a parent would allow a young, innocent child to be set up for a lifelong struggle with obesity by simply not caring enough.
"A spokeswoman for Kellogg's said: "We believe it is right to stand up for what we believe in."
They sure do by making a lot of money on high-carb, sugary cereals that create a sugar addiction in children, which they then take into adulthood.
Toddlers get a dopamine rush, which is caused by sugar and is as addictive as it would be to nicotine if we encouraged the under-fives to smoke.
Kellogg's cereals contain between 39% and 32% sugar, and sadly, children take this addiction with them into adulthood, causing obesity that is virtually impossible to get rid of in the following decades.
Cereals are extremely physically and psychologically addictive, and it is deliberately made to be so. Fifty years ago, the only patients seen with fatty liver disease were adult alcoholics - now we see it on the rise in recent years - now estimated to affect 1 in 10 children worldwide.
Sadly, studies show that being obese as a child means it's highly likely you'll be obese as an adult. Adults who are massively overweight will either not care that their kid gorges at the level they do, not to mention it's difficult to tell a kid to put the cookies down when all they see in their role models is cookie after cookie going in.
Children and young people need to be educated about the real downsides of being an unhealthy weight: the fact it shortens life diminishes self-esteem and can be very uncomfortable. We should not be afraid to spell out the consequences of obesity for fear of offending people as if this prevents them from becoming obese (or helps them to lose weight), we are doing them a favour. In addition, we might be saving money for the NHS.
It's not just the issue of junk food and sugar – everyone must find time to move more and exercise. Change our cultural mindset and focus on not trying to lose weight but getting stronger for optimal health. We must make being obese socially unacceptable – that's what worked for drink driving.