Vice Squad
Sunday, May 30, 2004
Obesity and ....Gay Marriage?

The UK has gone obesity wacky (or anti-obesity wacky) lately. Here's an article in today's Observer suggesting that this week's anti-obesity craze should have happened when the Observer launched its Fit for the Future campaign last September. The current handwringing follows this week's publication of a report on obesity from the British Parliament's Select Committee on Health. Here's the first paragraph from the Introduction to the report:
With quite astonishing rapidity, an epidemic of obesity has swept over England. To describe what has happened as an epidemic may seem far-fetched. That word is normally applied to a contagious disease that is rapidly spreading. But the proportion of the population that is obese has grown by almost 400% in the last 25 years. Around two-thirds of the population are now overweight or obese. On present trends, obesity will soon surpass smoking as the greatest cause of premature loss of life. It will bring levels of sickness that will put enormous strains on the health service, perhaps even making a publicly funded health service unsustainable.
The Intro also, er, introduces Vice Squad to a new term: "A generation is growing up in an obesogenic environment in which the forces behind sedentary behaviour are growing, not declining." (The new term is "obesogenic," not "sedentary"; sedentary I know.)

Now Vice Squad is no fan of obesity, despite last weekend's post about the obesity contrarian. So it would be nice to know what is causing this trend towards obesity. Vice Squad noted one answer a while back, but now a new hypothesis has been floated:
Lord Tebbit, an influential conservative leader in England, continued his tirade against gay men on Thursday by claiming the country's current "obesity epidemic" can be blamed on the government's support for "buggery."
Thanks to Alas, a Blog for the pointer.

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