According to the radio this morning, one in four people in Britain is obese. Not just overweight, or piling it on a bit, or chubby – OBESE.
It seems that doctors – some of whom are presumably included in that one in four – don't take this seriously enough. Their bumper-sticker advice is to eat more fruit and vegetables and take some exercise. Excellent idea, we should all do more of both.
The trouble is that those who enjoy exercise do it. Everyone else hates it and won't do it. Anything that you have to do only because it's good for you is not going to get done for long. Just ask anyone who signs up for a year's gym membership in the guilty wake of Christmas over-indulgence.
That leaves the fruit and vegetables. There is a small but insistent lobby that wants greens to be cheap so that everyone will buy them instead of the sweet and fatty things that they actually want. Oh come on. People don't buy greens because they don't like them. They don't like them because they haven't been taught to like them. Greens could be cheap as chips but they would rather have the chips.
But there is hope. Again according to the radio, there is a school of thought that says part of the obesity problem is that we are swallowing too many anti-biotics. These kill the bad bugs, but they also kill the good bugs that we need to keep us healthy. I'm not sure how this affects our tendency to obesity, but perhaps I wasn't paying enough attention. However, it seems that we also obsess about keeping our houses too clean, and stop our children eating dirt. Well, that's what I heard, this morning, on the radio, but it was a bit early for me. I might have dropped off now and again and missed the connection.
Anyway, if I got it right, the answer to the obesity problem is to leave our houses to gather dust, stop fussing with the disinfectants and household cleaners, and let our children mess about in the dirt. Oh, and eat more bugs.