The obesity epidemic

Everyday value pizza

Jamie Oliver has waged a war on “middle class bias,” stating that when a family is focused on simply feeding their children healthy choices fall by the wayside. His point of view is easily highlighted with the above picture, which would set you back just 65p in Tesco. For comparisons sake that wouldn’t even buy you a sweet pepper.

This is only the most recent in a string of media attention regarding the growing obesity crisis within the UK. It has been widely publicised this week that millennials are set to be the most obese generation so far, and it wasn’t long ago that we were debating a sugar tax which is due to be implemented on soft drinks later this year.

Oliver’s stance pushes blame from the individuals and back to poor standards of living and decreased social mobility. But exactly how culpable are we for our dress size?

It is fair to say that there simply isn’t the evidence out there to say one way or another whether social class affects weight. It may be that middle class families eat just as much pizza, for example, just that they spend a little more when doing so.

There is no question that there is a need to address this growing issue, but would increasing the cost of unhealthy foods, or decreasing the costs of healthy ones actually make a difference? Will a sugar tax make one iota of difference or is this a cultural problem that needs correcting through social change?

Cancer research UK is currently causing a storm with it’s new campaign – what essentially is just a fact on a billboard.


Perhaps sometimes you just have to cause controversy to implement change – what is certainly true is that this epidemic is causing great strain on an already stretched NHS, and as it stands it will only get worse.

What do you think?


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