Recently, there has been a spate of semi-medical lifestyle programmes on British television that point to the so-called junk food epidemic that infects all areas of life. | wikipedia


Sometimes when I start to write a Frank Talking column for you delectation, I become just a little nervous as to how my words could become misread by the good folk reading the article. It doesn’t happen very often, because mostly I chunter-on-about all manner of stuff that is unlikely to be taken badly by readers of the Bulletin.

However, this morning I’ve decided to write about a subject that, over the years, has become somewhat of a ‘no-go’ area for those of us who are employed to put pen-to-paper on various subjects. For instance, did you know that one in four adults in the United Kingdom are obese? Not slightly chubby, big boned or carrying a bit of extra weight…no, it’s called obese! This figure covers both men and women and it will come as no surprise to anyone that obese parents mostly produce obese children.

Funnily enough, as I look at these disturbing figures I wonder if Spain in general has a similar problem, or is this primarily a northern European problem, whether it’s because of diet or lifestyle or a mixture of the two. However, I have to say that in living in Mallorca for more than twenty years, when moving to (or visiting) the UK it is something you notice almost straight away. Nevertheless, returning to my original point regarding how even mentioning this undoubted fact, can be perceived as some sort of ‘shaming’ action, rather than just reflecting an obvious fact-of-life.

Recently, there has been a spate of semi-medical lifestyle programmes on British television that point to the so-called junk food epidemic that infects all areas of life, particularly those on low incomes where unfortunately, the food that seems to foster weight gain, is by some margin much cheaper than foodstuffs that are generally good for a persons health and wellbeing. Ergo - there is an undoubted link to obesity and low income levels. Nevertheless, I have always been fascinated by the typical Mediterranean diet that seems to support the notion that this balanced food intake is much more supportive of a healthy lifestyle than any British type comparison. Funnily enough, when talking of income levels and potential obesity - it seems that over the past generations those affected have changed completely. Right up until the 20th century, the people who were overweight would mainly be considered to be the well-off or wealthy amongst us. Look at any paintings of those within a comfortable income and the size of them practically jumps out at you.

On the other hand, scan any photos of the late Victorian era and beyond and working people are mostly reflected as being chronically thin and wasted, a situation that continued in British history, it seems, until the late 1930’s. There is also the debate regarding whether ill health provokes obesity, rather than obesity provoking ill health?

My own doctor when living in Mallorca would often raise the question regarding whether those using various forms of wheelchair transportation when on holiday are using them not because of ill health, but because of weight gain, party caused by a lack of personal mobility. He called it “a vicious circle of ill health…” However, it does have to be said that when visiting Mallorca, as I did a month ago, you notice almost straight away the differences in terms of shape and size almost everyone you come across, or just notice at a distance. In fact, an article I was reading just the other day, maintained that obesity was becoming a long term problem for much of western society and not just one of so-called ‘fat-shaming.’