Frank Skinner, writing in The Times, has a new theory on the causes of the obesity epidemic. It is simply because being fat is no longer uncool. As little as 20 years ago fat children were ridiculed in school, often referred to as fatty or fatso, and always left tagging along, striving to be part of the gang, but always left out in favour of more athletic kids.
However, all this has changed. Caused by a combination of political correctness and increasing numbers of morbidly obese celebrities, the message to children seems to now be that it is OK to be fat (sorry, I mean overweight). With comedians such as Jo Brand, Dawn French, Matt Lucas and James Cordon all making their own fat jokes, rather than being the victim of others’ jokes, fat seems to be getting a cool image. Recently American singer Beth Ditto has been named an ‘icon of our generation’ and has bared all on advertising boards across America.
But how does this fit with the current message that is coming from the government that being overweight is unhealthy? Recent research has shown that being obese is actually as bad for you as a lifetime of smoking. In fact, being obese is likely to shorten your life by a decade. 10 whole years lost due to eating too much. Approximately 25% of the adult population is now obese, and far more merely overweight (which is still fat by the way).
On both sides of the pond governments have adopted non-smoking laws to encourage smokers to quit, for the goos of their own health. However it is still wrong to tell an obese person that they need to lose weight. Family doctors may hint towards weight loss, but seeing that so many people now live in denial, believing that it is healthy to carry ‘a little extra weight’, how are we ever going to reverse this trend?
Frank Skinners answer to this is simple. Start telling people they are fat. Calling an overweight kid fatty may actually encourage them to lose weight, get active. They may suffer hurt feelings for a while, but if calling them fatso adds 10 years to their lives, and allows them to have a much more fulfilling life to boot, then why don’t we do this? We bullied and nagged smokers, and already have seen reductions in smoking related deaths. Maybe one simple solution would be to send Gordon Ramsey into schools instead of Jamie Oliver. Rather than try to change what the kids eat, just stand in the playground and shout, ‘Oi, you’re f**king fat!’.Source: The Times, Friday 20 March.