Romanian facts on dating family dieting

It is not the combination of poverty and the easy availability of fattening food that has produced the epidemic of obesity: rather it is a sense in these circumstances of meaninglessness, that nothing much matters.More than 30 years ago I visited an island in the Central Pacific called Nauru. Half of them became diabetic and their life expectancy was low (despite the general rule that rich people are healthy). With the decline of the family – wrought by the policies of successive governments – patterns of eating have changed.

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It has been found that a fifth of children do not eat more than one meal a week with another member of their household; and in such households, which I used sometimes to visit as a doctor, the microwave oven was the entire batterie de cuisine, or at any rate the only cooking implement that was ever actually employed.

Moreover, there was no table at which a meal could have been eaten in common if anyone had thought of doing so.

Another contributory factor to the obesity epidemic is the control or authority now given to children over what they eat.

Children are asked (and given) what they want by their solicitous mothers, not as a treat but as a matter of course; and what they choose is what is most immediately attractive to them.

These perpetual snacks have the great advantage of keeping the nippers quiet while their mothers discuss the shortcomings of their respective boyfriends; unfortunately they are harmful for longer-term and more important objectives.

Things are worse in Britain than anywhere else in Europe, but my patriotism forces me to concede, not without a certain relief, that matters are deteriorating abroad, too.

The industry complied, but, unfortunately, prepared foods denuded of fat are unappetising, so it replaced fat with fructose, the principal dietary cause – according to Dr Lustig – of obesity. You can lead a man to a doughnut, but you can’t make him eat.

What is the connection between poverty (relative, not absolute), and the obesity that is unprecedented in history?

I happen to be staying at the moment in a provincial English town.

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