Three in five boys born today in the least affluent parts of Britain will be overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, according to shocking new forecasts.
The figures exposing a growing obesity gender gap come amid warnings of a diabetes time-bomb facing the country, with five million people due to be diagnosed by 2020.
The trend – a 42 per cent rise in cases in just five years – follows a decade in which levels of obesity among children have remained stubbornly high.
Disaster, disaster, yadda yadda.
And my theory is that it takes a generation or two to change diet in response to economic and technological changes. Further, that richer groups get the economic and technological change first and thus adapt the diet earlier.
Think back a century. Fat people were rich people. No, really, the poor (and I do mean poor) weren’t going to be eating enough to be fat. Then we get the economic and technological changes of the past century. Cheap food for the first time in human history. The decline of physical labour, heck the decline in just walking around and or cleaning the house. And what I regard as the really big one, the spread of cheap and efficient central heating.
These changes all came top down – the rich had them decades before the poor. That last, of central heating (and associates, double glazing etc), really only became just normal in the 1980s for the poor. And so did obesity change. The rich got the goodies first, then the next generation slimmed down again and it was the middle classes turn to be portly. And now we’re at the stage where it’s the poor who are fat. And the next generation will have adapted to this vast fecundity and plenty that is modern society and will be slim again.
Err, maybe. It is only a theory after all, but it’s a pet one.