It is inequality and disrespect that make people fat.
Back a century and it was rich people who were fat. So it was inequality then too, right?
My own supposition is, and not one that I’d want to have to prove, that it is to do with class, although not inequality so much. Our society has got rich over the past century. But of course we got rich in classes.
The aristocracy haven’t been short of food since 1066 – but it’s not really food I think which has been the major change. It’s been energy expenditure. And that has been dropping by class as the century has progressed. The biggest part of it (again, not something I would want to have to prove) is home heating.
We are mammals, we do use most of our energy to regulate temperature. Being in a temperature regulated environment will lower energy expenditure. And all that it needs for me to be right here is that energy consumption falls more slowly than energy expenditure.
The upper middle classes were well served with coal fires and the like, the middle classes warmed up later and the working classes teneded to get the central heating and the double glazing in the 1980s. Just when that obesity epidemic took off.
Wouldn’t it be fascinating if we did have records of historical obesity by class. And that it followed the patter I’ve laid out?