Britons eat more than half the crisps consumed in Europe
Becoming fat in Britain is terribly easy. Bar the US, there is no other developed country in the world where, if you go with the flow, you will end
eating quite so badly. In Britain, you have to go out of your way, and make a special effort, to find good, healthy food. Healthy food is the
exception, rather than the rule.
If you just eat what everyone else eats, and take advantage of the popular food options that are regularly presented to you, then there is a strong
chance that, as the years roll on, you'll be joining that growing band of compatriots who struggle to fit into last year's wardrobe or, worse, can't
see their toes for their bellies.
To put it bluntly, our country is lumbering towards a fatness epidemic. Around two-thirds of adult males, and more than half of adult females, are
either overweight (fat) or obese (extremely fat).
Obesity has grown by 300 per cent over the past 20 years. Among children, the problem is rising twice as fast as among adults. Nearly 16 per cent of
children aged six to 15 are officially obese - three times as many as a decade ago. Add those who are 'merely' overweight and you get nearly a third
of the entire child population.
This simply isn't happening to the same extent in other countries. Though rising obesity, particularly among children, is regarded as a worldwide
problem, Britain's youngsters are second only to the US in piling on the pounds.
In France, by comparison, though obesity is on the increase, the proportion of boys and girls who are considered obese stands at just 4 per cent.
Currently, a third of the total number of obese children in Europe are British.
In the words of Professor Mike Kelly, of the Health Development Agency, Britain has created an "obesogenic environment". In the same way that
carcinogenic environments cause cancer, modern Britain causes obesity. Part of the problem is lack of exercise, with sedentary lifestyles and an
overreliance on cars. But the key factor is the proliferation of unhealthy food and our growing addiction to it.
'Junk food is everywhere'
Up and down the British Isles, bad food is omnipresent, and more wholesome alternatives are elusive. It is as though there is a national conspiracy to
get the population to eat fattening junk. Bad food is woven into the structure of daily life. Going for a swim or a workout at the fitness centre may
be good for your health - but only if you ignore the vending machine loaded with fizzy drinks and sweets on your way out.
If you want to read a newspaper and keep abreast of world events like a good citizen, then you'll probably need to walk into a shop with a wall of
confectionery, crisps and garish liquids called 'juice'.
If you're popping into a High Street off-licence to buy a bottle of wine, it's made easy for you to pick up some confectionery as you pay. Forget wine
and olives - in Britain, it's wine and sweeties.
Filling up on petrol? Go on, treat yourself to something from that monumental display of chocolate confectionery, sticky gums, boiled sweets, crisps
and savoury snacks and throw in a long-life mini-salami while you are there.
Or what about a more substantial snack, a 'meal replacement' or 'smeal' (a play on snack and meal), as the industry likes to call it? A big, fatty,
salty burger or deep-dish steak pie perhaps, carefully microwaved just for you by the languid youth at the pay-point? The market for these chilled,
microwavable delights grew by 98 per cent between 2003 and 2005.
While you are there, look out for US-style 'cup-holder cuisine', a handy range of snacks, soups and even cooked meals, designed to be eaten with one
hand while driving, that fit into your car's cup-holders. The British have become so accustomed to having bad food thrust under their noses in places
and situations not otherwise associated with food that they no longer notice it.
edit on 2-2-2011 by oibena because: (no reason given)