One of the things in the press that annoys me no end is the idea that Britain is in the rip of an “obesity epidemic”. now the first thing to say is obesity is not communicable so the word “epidemic” is inappropriate anyway but what really annoys me is that over the last few years this idea has become so entrenched as a received an unquestioned truth. Whole swathes of Finnish forest have been been turned into articles on the subject and how best to tackle it without ever once questioning whether the phenomenon is real or not. In that spirit I shall now put in my tuppence purely anecdotally.
I live in Cheshire, just south of Manchester. It’s very middle-class around here. I often see the hordes of kids getting off the bus after school finishes. I don’t recall seeing any bloaters. If anything I’d say the kids are more svelte than the ones I was at school with in the ’80s and ’90s. That was in commuter-belt West Gateshead which again was a reasonably middle-class area – not as posh as round here but by no stretch deprived. So middle-class(ish) kids don’t tend to be fat… So what about those who have “Mums that go to Iceland”. Er… no. I’ve lived in some pretty rough inner-city areas (most recently Levenshulme) which probably could be termed “deprived” and to be honest didn’t notice much difference.
Now I tend to not like shopping and my idea of Hell on Earth is somewhere like the Trafford Centre (and purgatory is the M60 just outside it) but things like Christmas shopping are a case of needs must when the Devil vomits in your kettle. Now if anywhere provides a cross-section of the North West populace then surely it’s the Trafford Centre. And no I didn’t see more than the odd sea-monster. So is the North West particularly unusual? I very much doubt it.
Anyway, that’s my take on it – unscientific though it may be – I don’t believe in the obesity “epidemic”.