There are two ways to halt Britain’s obesity crisis: Ban junkfood ads and study why we overeat
FORMER Peep Show actor Robert Webb says he used to treat his body “like a skip” before being diagnosed with a heart murmur in 2019.
Following surgery, he immediately stopped smoking and drinking.
He says: “It was a gift in so many ways. I came out of hospital and I was finally on my own side.
“These internal organs, these are my guys, I need to look after them.”
“Finally on my own side.” Says it all.
Yet how many of us have friends who, given a health warning after being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition brought on by poor choices, actively continue with the bad habits that brought it on?
Their choice in a free society, you might argue.
Except that the overstretched NHS invariably ends up dealing with the inevitable consequences of Type 2 diabetes, diet-related heart conditions and overstrained knees and hips.
Consequently, the “nanny state” continues to try to help us to help ourselves . . . not to an extra portion of deep-fried food but to healthier options that hopefully prolong our lives.
One of its initiatives was to force restaurants and cafes to put calorie counts on menus.
Well, that was a year ago and guess what? A Sun on Sunday investigation showed that it’s made no difference to Britain’s obesity time bomb.
Of course it hasn’t.
Because for years prior to this nanny state initiative we were bombarded with leaflets, adverts and articles telling us that the dangerous combo of calorie-laden food and no exercise will make us fat, so there couldn’t have been a single adult in the country who didn’t actually know already that something with layers of chocolate, whipped cream, caramel and buttered biscuit is highly likely to contain around half of the recommended 2,000-calorie daily intake for women.
So if someone orders it after a three-course meal then their issues with food clearly run far deeper than any stated calorie count will solve.
Similarly, packs of cigarettes are plastered with the horrifying long-term effects of smoking yet there are still around six million Brits puffing away.
For some it will take a serious health scare like Robert Webb’s to bring them to their senses.
For others even that won’t work because they’re addicted, be it to fags, booze or fatty foods.
And no amount of being told what’s bad for them is going to work.
So the obesity crisis can only be tackled in two ways.
First of all, put a stop to the all-powerful food industry’s habit of pushing cheap junk on us via eye-catching offers and misleading labels and help subsidise the often small businesses offering healthier, non-processed options.
What it costs in the short-term will be saved in the long-term via fewer hospital admissions.
Secondly, and most importantly, throw money at helping people to understand the reasons behind why they overeat, and make sure they don’t pass their habits on to their children.
Without a holistic overview on what’s really behind the obesity crisis, calorie counts on menus are merely decorative.
FORMULA One star Lewis Hamilton has been ridiculed for this outfit at the Coachella Festival in California.
I don’t see why.
They’re clearly just a pair of colourful jimmy jams and he’s off to brush his teeth at the communal shower block.
LEONARDO DiCaprio has been spotted chatting to supermodel Irina Shayk, at a late-night party.
But his rumoured current squeeze, 19-year-old Israeli model Eden Polani, perhaps shouldn’t worry.
At 37, Ms Shayk is far too old for him.
His cut-off point is around 25, which, coincidentally, is the age when the brain stops developing and your risk management and long-term planning abilities finally kick in.
MUCH guff has been written about the emancipation of women leading to the demise of Tupperware.
Even liberated, working women like to put their leftovers in seal-tight containers.
Waste not, want not and all that.
It’s just that we can buy them far cheaper from other manufacturers, that’s all.
Finley badly failed
LITTLE Finley Boden was removed from his drug-addict parents at birth but inexplicably handed back to them by Derbyshire County Council at around nine months old.
Just 39 days later, he died.
Among his 130 injuries were 57 fractures – including a broken pelvis, collarbone, shoulder, shin and ribs – as well as burns on his hands and cuts in his mouth.
What the little mite endured in such a short time is unthinkable.
His “parents”, Stephen Boden and Shannon Marsden, have both been convicted of murder, and now Derbyshire social services is facing tough questions over the decision to place the toddler in such an unstable environment.
But, shamefully, it sought a repressive court order forbidding the boy’s relatives from speaking to the media, and now the five-week trial is over, it says it “would not be appropriate” to comment until an independent safeguarding review has been completed.
Both of which, one suspects, are largely designed to protect the interests of the council, rather than the poor child so badly let down.
Still a crime
THE now 60-year-old woman who was raped by film director Roman Polanski when she was just 13 says: “It wasn’t a big deal.”
Samantha Geimer, who was plied with alcohol and pills at a supposed “photoshoot” in 1977, adds: “All the girls, the models, slept with the photographers and I was no exception. I was fine, I’m still fine.”
But that’s not the point.
Adults are supposed to protect minors, not violate their naivety, and the law – as well as society’s disapproval – is there to make sure they’re punished if they do.
Forget Saturn, Emma – you need to come back down to Earth
ACTRESS Emma Watson says she “stepped away from my life” after turning 29 because she felt “really sad” and “really p***ed off about a lot of things”.
She learned to surf, rode horses, had therapy and adopted a dog.
She accredits this grounding life pause to the period in astrology when the planet reaches the same celestial position it held at the point of your birth – otherwise known as “Saturn return”.
I’m sure the Harry Potter millions helped cushion this indulgent period of reflection too.
ALTERNATIVE medicine practitioner Deepak Chopra is a friend of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and says he has advised them to refrain from discussing their fallout with the Royal Family publicly.
Stable. Door. Horse. Bolted.
Shore looks stupid
ONLYFANS model Michaela Ogilvie thought it would be “really cool” to strip off in a cave near Dumpton Gap in Kent.
Er, right. Whatever floats your boat.
But after managing just four half-naked photos of herself, she realised the tide was coming in, the cave was filling up and she might drown.
So she called 999 for an RNLI rescue.
While I’m sure it made a pleasant change for a lifeboat crew to rescue a half-dressed damsel in distress rather than a bedraggled Labrador, one wonders how much time online “influencers” now waste for the emergency services with their daft, attention-seeking escapades?
I hope they charged her.
FORMER England cricketer Phil Tufnell is caring for his wife Dawn who has had a hip replacement.
“I’ve got a dark wash to put on, I’ve got to make the dinner, haven’t even thought about ironing or dusting yet . . . I’m absolutely shattered,” he jokes (I think) to a podcast.
Of course, Dawn will be quietly doing all this without mention for the other 48 weeks of the year.
Fiddler quite aloof
IT has emerged that Israeli actor Chaim Topol – star of both the Fiddler On The Roof stage musical and film – worked as a Mossad agent.
Whatever next – Michael Ball revealed as an undercover SAS operative?