Over 35million adults, whose excessive weight and related health issues costs the NHS in excess of £8,167,385. Three quarters of hospital patients receiving treatment for obesity are women, and sadly there are increasing numbers of children categorised as overweight or obese, many of whom will probably die before their parents.
It is puzzling that a high percentage of the people who are said to be facing ‘food poverty’ fall within these statistics.
We are familiar with seeing harrowing images of families, particularly children, in third world countries where food shortages are endemic. There, the ravages of real hunger due to lack of food is etched upon faces, skinny frames and children dying of malnutrition and hunger. None are obese.
It was recently reported that ‘many people in the UK who claim to be going without are classed as overweight if not obese’. This anomaly should be investigated, despite probably being a sensitive matter.
It is essential to understand why, and what should be done to reverse this life-threatening national plague, urgently. It is also worth noting that Britain’s are the ‘World Champions’ for drinking. Not something to be proud of or celebrate.
Remembering back to the days when we were deep in the grip of COVID 19, it was the fat and obese as well as the frail and elderly, and those with underlying health issues, who suffered most and died.
The UK is the third ‘fattest’ country in Europe following only behind Turkey and Malta. Interestingly Switzerland has the lowest obesity levels at 19.5%.
Our parents and grandparents knew what it was like to go without or at the very least make meagre rations feed their families during the War years. Looking back over photographs and News Reel images, the women and children looked lean, fit, and purposeful. Granted they knew then how to cook food from scratch and make do with what they could get. Food rationing was a challenge which even after the Wars families managed to cope with, and clearly prevented overindulgence and thick waistlines.
There were in those days no Take Aways, processed meals dripping in fat, containing too much salt, sugar, and preservatives. Basic foods however scarce were at least staple ingredients and healthy, when they could get it.
It is clear that the retail food industry, marketing, and supermarkets in particular, have much to answer for when it comes to pushing the nation towards embracing unhealthy diets and thus obesity. The USA has even higher rates of over fat people and their marketing techniques are said to influence English speaking countries, which in part apparently explains why other European countries are less influenced to eat ‘Fast Food’.
It is clear that the impact of surging costs linked to fertilizer, fuel, animal feed and labour is having an effect on the UK’s ability to produce food. This matter needs to be recognised and addressed urgently by Government. This is clearly no short-term matter but one which has been heading our way for some while, and the war in Ukraine has intensified the problem.
It is essential that British farmers must be encourage and rewarded for increasing domestic food production. Government must understand that with fertiliser costs having increased by 300%, it is little wonder that farmers are looking to pull back on production.
We should be looking forward to a bumper harvest as crops are looking remarkably well. However, with less fertiliser and now the drought which is already stressing cereal crops which are coming into ear far too soon, we should be prepared for disappointing yields.