Obesity – A Big Arse Problem!

If you are worried about how big your arse is getting, you could try getting off it more often … although it takes less effort to just blame it on Maccas.

There has been an annoying article making a repeated appearance on my Facebook page recently, about a celebrity chef who is running a crusade against McDonalds restaurants over the quality of the ingredients used in their foods.  So many people seem to ‘like’ and ‘share’ this article, without apparently feeling any need whatever to contribute  to the debate.  I think the powerful combination of a crusade to (be seen to) rally to, coupled with its association with a popular TV personality is all the reason they need to fall over themselves joining the cause (i.e. hitting the like and share buttons).

I did find what seems to be a considered and thoughtful article on this issue at http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-junk-food-can-end-obesity/309396/  Its a bit of a read but, in the interest of trying to be informed, I think its worth the effort.  I was particularly interested to read the outcome of McDonalds’ previous business disaster when they actually tried to market a healthier product to their customer base.  The concept soared with all the aeronautical success of a lead balloon!

The one thing I didn’t read in either this article or in the one about the celebrity chef, is the obvious connection between obesity and the sedentary nature of modern lifestyles.  So few of us nowadays work in jobs that are physically demanding and there are ever increasing numbers of office clerk types and a dwindling number of brickies’ laborers!  I know in my case, I have been painfully slim for my entire lifetime …. five feet six and 116 pounds (53 Kg) for most of it.  A couple of years ago, I suddenly started to put on a few pounds.  I suppose one could assume that it is something to do with my age (almost 60) but I don’t think that’s it.  The big thing that changed in my life in the past couple of years is a steep reduction in the level of outdoor activities that I’m doing.

More time spent sitting at a computer and less digging in my garden and chasing livestock (I have a small hobby farm) have seen me edging towards being overweight for the first time in my life.  I don’t think my diet has changed in that time and, living in the country, I don’t get to eat so-called fast foods very often.  A visit to Maccas is a rare and real treat for us, on those occasions when we go to the city for grocery shopping.  The only change in my lifestyle has been its noticeably more sedentary nature.

I think its a shame that when we take up the baton for a cause, its so easy for us to develop blinkered vision … focusing on the specific object of our concern and no longer seeing the big picture.

Its pretty  clear to me that, if there is ever to  be a solution to the new epidemic of obesity within society, it will require an holistic approach to health improvement.  It will involve good nutrition, coupled with  regular and appropriate physical activity and proper rest.

If we do become overweight, all the dieting in the world is unlikely to provide a long term solution, if we fail to get physical and stay physical.

At the moment it seems that the ‘good food gurus’ are busy demonising the fast food industry.  Well they might.  They have the media status and the following  ….. and all those people on Facebook …… to make some noise and attract some much loved publicity.  But the whole campaign ignores the reality that so-called fast food outlets do in fact deliver nutritious food.  In times gone by, malnutrition was a bigger problem in economically challenged sectors of society, than was obesity.  But like any good thing, if fast food is over-indulged in, its certainly not likely to be good for people.

Currently, it has become popular in the world of ‘reality TV’ to feature shows about cooking.  And of course, there is the current crop of celebrity chefs, each with their trademark behavioural quirks and TV personas.  The one thing they all seem to have in common, is a tendency to espouse the virtues of cooking using enough sugar, butter, flour and every other must-avoid ingredient known to man, to guarantee obesity and coronary occlusions to anyone who had the good fortune to live on their fare.

I’m not saying that these dishes are worse than the fast food offerings.  I’m not saying that they’re better.  What I am saying is that both styles of fare are good ….. when taken like all good things …. in moderation.  I don’t know that its so much a question of what we eat, but how much and how often plus how much exercise we get in our daily lives.  One thing that is clear is that most styles of cuisine have people who appreciate them.  And I think its sad when people make a holy crusade out of trying to force all and sundry to bow down to their particular way of seeing things.  You’d think we’d have grown out of that sort of attitude, with the passing of the Spanish inquisition and nazism.

Andrew Caddle 20130804



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