We’re bombarded every day with news about obesity and what we can do about it. People that are overweight are demonised and often ridiculed by large sections of the media and every other day we hear about some new diet that’s going to change everyone’s lives for the better. The Guardian’s health editor Sarah Boseley aims to delve deep into the heart of what makes people fat in The Shape We’re In.
We’re approaching a situation now where life expectancy is actually expected to fall. Huge numbers of people are obese or overweight. Sarah looks to see where obesity is most prevalent and finds it’s not just among the lower classes as many have suggested. We live in a world of constant snacking. People barely notice what they’re eating as they shovel a selection of treats down their throats. This level of snacking means we’re never really satisfied as a lot of this is done on the move and without due consideration. We’re rarely sitting down for a meal that we can really savour.
She feels that the people in power are too focused on the money generated by the processed food industry. It’s not just as simple as telling people to eat less and that’ll be the problem solved. It has become normal to be overweight and if people are surrounded by this they’ll thing there’s nothing wrong with glugging copious amounts of fizzy pop or having regular takeaways. Young people are being bombarded with ads and fed sugar morning, noon and night. These habits start at an early age and build into something very problematic in later life.
She argues that the diet industry is one of the biggest frauds of our time, part of the problem rather than the solution. So many of these things come and go but in a large amount of cases the weight goes back on. These charlatans feed on the hopes of people desperate for a quick and easy fix.
Sarah is outraged at the lack of coverage this issue is getting and has got the opinions of many health experts to support her argument. She feels it’s the responsibility of individuals and society as a whole to sort it out. We need safe playgrounds for children, good cycle paths and good walking space to keep people active and healthy.
There’s nothing overly new in Sarah’s book but what she does have here is a clear and passionate argument for abandoning all those sugary treats that make up so much of our lives and for some direct action to be taken to stop the junk food industry from destroying our health. It’s certainly encouraged me to avoid the vending machines for the forseeable future and keep my water bottle close to me at all times.