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Heavy people

Posted Feb 26 2011 11:32am

This was entirely predictable.

I wrote my degree dissertation on the subject of childhood obesity and I proposed at the time that we’d see a growing number of huge teenagers and, likewise, a growing number of weight-related problems facing the ambulance services in the UK. Today, we are introducing ambulances that are extra-wide and have the capacity to bear the weight of a small elephant. The teenager in the recent news story weighs about a third of a ton and she can expect some really painful physical complications; joint problems, spinal problems, muscular aches and pains. Then there’s the added stress on her heart and lungs, diabetes, high blood pressure and a very unfavourable outlook generally.

But she was born heavy it seems and the trend for weight-gain has never left her, except for one USA fat-camp stint that helped her shed an amazing 15 stones in 9 months. So, physically, if she stops eating so much, she can lose weight. It’s not all genetic. Even she admits that when she gets depressed about her weight, she eats to feel better!

I have been writing about this subject for years and I am not unsympathetic but we are reaching a point where, once again, instead of dealing with the problem head-on, we are simply pandering to it by ‘accommodating’ the needs of those who don't help themselves, such as extra weight and space humans.

A recent study has revealed that we will soon run out of available land for growing food. The world population is increasing faster than we can recover arable land. Obese people, who will increase in number hugely over the next few decades, will be responsible for the consumption of a lot more of the available food than those who are not fat.

The cost to tax payers increases with this trend too; we have to help foot the bill for an ever-growing demand on the NHS for long-term care of the illnesses and injuries that accompany obesity. Ambulance services, like mine have to use (at great cost) specialist vehicles, called bariatric ambulances, to carry these patients to hospital and then they have to be put into special beds so that they can be treated. My colleagues and I suffer back problems and often injure ourselves lifting and carrying obese people because, without us, they simply would not be able to get up when they fall down. Nobody else will do it; nursing and care home staff call us because, apparently, their backs are more valuable than ours.

Without sounding insulting because I really don’t want to be, it’s worth remembering that over-feeding starts in childhood and it’s generally the parent (mum in most cases, according to sound research) that entices and encourages eating when the child isn’t even hungry. It’s habitual. It’s also worth remembering that stress doesn’t make you fat – FOOD does!

My eldest son thought I would like this – it’s a follow up to my rant on equality and racism and freedom of speech. I’m sure nobody will mind giving the Avenue Q cast a pat on the back for being frank with their point of view.

Be safe.

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