Big fat Britain – why are we heading the same way as the US?

People complain that the constant bombardment of unhealthy food and lifestyle choices causes us to be overweight but all people have choices; all people can walk past McDonalds into the green grocers; we can all sweep the cobwebs off our bicycles and leave our cars in the garage. Arguably, obesity is a mental disease or attributed to hormonal imbalances such as polycystic ovaries and, in a minority of cases, this is true. However I find it difficult to accept that the number of people who suffer from said diseases has risen so dramatically in recent years so as to justify the severe incline in the number of people who are classed as obese.

In 1945 our nation was blessed with the National Health Service which strives to keep us all alive. It seems we have become far too complacent with the easy lifestyle we have grown to know (and indeed, most of us know of nothing but comfort and luxury) and are abusing the system by abusing our bodies. The NHS spends £1million a week on slimming pills and the big bums of Britain cost the NHS a staggering £1 billion a year. Very few children get adequate exercise and even less are taught about nutrition and how to have a healthy diet. In 2004, 86% of schools’s main dishes were classed by the NHS as having ‘excessively high’ fat content and were being served 4-5 days per week whilst only 70% had fresh salad available on, at least, one day a week.

But what about students? ‘How does this affect us?’ I hear you cry. Well, it would seem that we are the lucky ones. Statistics suggest that the more highly educated one is, the less likely one is to be overweight and die young. But not always.

We must remember that many students lead a remarkably unhealthy lifestyle. We are promiscuous, alcoholic, sleep-deprived smokers – not to mention our diet of pot noodles and pizza! However, there is hope , students are very likely to be involved in some kind of sporting activity (and with such a myriad of things to choose from, this is not surprising). I am not saying that we should not enjoy ourselves but just to remember that it is our responsibility (as the ‘yoof’ of Britain) to consider the health and good of the nation unless we want our children to be sitting on reinforced chairs and unable to climb the hill from Tesco to uni. Yes, many would say that the parents are to blame for their children being overweight and that may be the case, but if we do not start somewhere then this problem will just escalate. If we do not do something about this crisis soon then the British people will be stuck in a rut – let us just hope it is a big one.

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