Obesity and our bulging waistlines are killing us, if we continue ignoring it, it will kill the country, says Mark Dolan

Operations, medical devices and of course medication, are a massive industry, that you and me, are needlessly paying for. Lining the pockets, of big pharma.

Published

This will have you spitting out your dinner.

The Telegraph report, that food labels with information such as “calories in this cake require 90 minutes of walking to burn off” were far more likely to be understood, compared with a traffic light system. This according to a study by Loughborough University, which surveyed more than 2,600 adults, who were told for example, that a chocolate wafer biscuit with 209 calories, would “cost” 21 minutes of running - or twice as long for those taking a stroll.

Now I'm against the nanny state. We've had a few years now, of the government telling us what to do, so I think it's time to actually let people live their lives. And it's a fundamental human right, to eat yourself and drink yourself into an early grave, if you so wish. But I think this research is potentially useful, in the much-needed battle against obesity. Because it’s based on how I have always said, we should tackle this: information, not instruction. There is very little evidence that scrapping two for ones on unhealthy food in the supermarket, makes a blind bit of difference.

Often diet drinks are just as unhealthy, in a different way and in terms of scrapping meal deals, are we really going to make food deliberately more expensive, during a cost of living crisis, when queues for food banks, get longer by the day. It's abundantly clear that junk food, is the tobacco of the modern era. In the 1950s 60s 70s and 80s, smoking grew ever more popular, and it became clear, that in spite of the massive marketing behind tobacco, it was slowly killing us, and burdening our health systems.

A concerted effort to encourage people off the fags, was highly successful. Not by banning cigarettes - people were given information not instruction. And the rising cost of tobacco, meant that you could, continue, to puff away, but it was going to cost you. This is going to have to happen with the food industry, who have adopted the same policies, as THE tobacco giants. Nonsense, highly compromised so-called studies, showing their food is super healthy, like cereal companies, paying for research, that miraculously confirms, you need you cornflakes in the morning.

Fags were at one point marketed in America as good for chest complaints, and they had adverts saying: “YOUR doctor recommends, camel cigarettes”.. Amazing.

But there are parallels now, with companies like McDonald's spending millions linking themselves to Premier League football and the Olympics. In order to create the illusion, that their food, I use the term loosely, is somehow part of a healthy lifestyle.

Because their brand, sits there in the context of sport. Except I don't think Christano Ronaldo would have achieved that famous 6 pack, on a diet of happy meals. The painful truth is that being fat, has become normalised across the western world.

Here's what the typically astute, commentator Dominic Samuels, had to say on the matter, a few months ago.

“Why do we need the morbidly obese, to speak the truth in their Calvins.

“Out of all the black plus size modes that exist – you had to pick the one, that’s 5 minutes from diabetes.- to promote unhealthy living.

“Calvin Klein You should be ashamed.”

So how do we change things? The state must apply pressure on these fast food giants, to improve their recipes and make them healthier.

These multibillion dollar corporations could potentially pay more tax, as their products are proving such a burden, on our health service.

The public should be armed with more information, about the rubbish they're eating, so they make an informed choice – information, not instruction. And start them when they're young. Schools should be teaching what used to be called home economics.

All too often kids come out of school barely able to put a chicken tikka masala, in the microwave. Teach them how to boil an egg, steam some broccoli, fry a steak or roast a chicken.

Teach kids about real food. Because in the 60s, 70s and the 80s, we didn't have obesity. Why? Because we didn't snack – it was three square meals a day, real food, meat and two veg. And treats like ice cream or chocolate bars, were a weekly not a daily event.

Young people now, who are at the forefront of exploding obesity rates, have upped the ante. They're eating crap, by the hour. Made worse by lockdowns of course, as people stayed home and dialled Deliveroo, to have this toxic slurry, delivered straight to their door.

We've got to tackle this crisis, because things are getting worse. Covid was arguably a disease of obesity. If you had a high BMI and what is called metabolic syndrome – Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and a big waistline, you were disproportionately, at risk from the virus. It's not going too far to say, if that there had been no obesity, there was no pandemic.

The statistics, around the number of obese people in ICU, for example over 80% in America, speaks for itself. Which is why I am afraid that the NHS, asking for more money falls on deaf ears. For almost three years, the NHS became the national Covid service, obsessed with trying to stop a seasonal respiratory virus.

And with that, they stop treating other illnesses, presided over a waiting list of potentially 12 million people, and we are now all paying the health price. You try getting a GP appointment, this side of Christmas. Good luck with that. Your leg could be hanging off and even then, they’d still insist, on having the first consultation, on zoom.

Obesity is the real pandemic. It's been tearing through our population, for 30 years. And it's getting worse. And it's the pandemic, that the government, the media and our health service have been ignoring. A record amount is going into the NHS, and yet we're sicker than ever. And the elephant in the room is obesity.

Linked to depression and joint problems – 30-year-olds are now going in for knee replacements and you know how expensive they are – is also linked to high blood pressure, cancer, kidney disease, eye problems, chest problems. You name it - every major ailment you can think of, is linked to obesity, a so-called illness, which is entirely preventable, and man made.

All the NHS want to do, is manage the symptoms, expensively treating the millions in this country, with type two diabetes, pumping people with heart problems, full of statins, and spending billions a year on heart operations, and other procedures, none of which would be necessary, if we simply ate the way we did, in the 60s, 70s and 8os. And we still had our treats, but look at any photographs of public gatherings, from that era - the old days – a handful of fat people, the majority, slim as they come.

Take a snapshot of the British public now, and the opposite is the case, it's the thin ones, who stand out. I was getting quite the belly in 2018 and I followed the low-carb principles, of the brilliant NHS GP Dr David Unwin who gets his patients, off processed carbohydrates - sugar, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and beer. I dropped three stone thanks to his advice, and he's reversed the diabetes of scores of his patients.

These lifestyle related illnesses, are now such a cost to the NHS, they threaten, in time, to bankrupt the whole thing, because of the astonishing cost, of managing these chronic, preventable diseases.

Operations, medical devices and of course medication, are a massive industry, that you and me, are needlessly paying for. Lining the pockets, of big pharma.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Mark my words, obesity and our bulging waistline, is killing us. And if we continue, to ignore it, it will kill, the country too. It's enough to make you sick.