A culture of obesity and blame

cwilko2011 By cwilko2011, 5th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/18fckuo4/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Diet & Nutrition

A look into the increasing epidemic of obesity in the developed world. Focussing on the UK juxtaposed with the US.

The UK

Aside from all the political, economical and various other strifes, there is one thing that is threatening to send the United Kingdom plummeting further than it ever has before.

We are currently gripped in an epidemic of obesity, we have the highest rate in Europe and closely follow the worlds largest nation, the United States. What I aim to do is to look into the reasons why we are in this epidemic and how we can continue to create such a diaspora of greed versus starvation.

To begin.

One of the key factors of the obesity epidemic that is now gripping the country dates back to the 18th Century. During the 18th and early 19th century the country was gripped by huge contrast. On one side there were the starving masses and on the other was the gluttonous aristocracy. Food has always been a defining factor in the standing of a person in society.

The aristocracy and upper classes gorged on copious amounts of food, while the lower classes were left with what was left. This has changed substantially in the following centuries but it is still somewhat apparent.


At the start if the 20th century, the Uk's relationship with food was completely different to how it is now. A vast majority of people were self-sufficient or relied on local markets for their food. Throughout the two World Wars, food was rationed and people learnt to "make-do". This was also the time that people were "digging for victory", growing what they could where they could in order to survive.

The first 50 years of the 20th century were blighted by wars that wiped out entire generations of men and some of the worst economic conditions we have ever seen. As a result of this people were eating in a much healthier way and as a consequence, obesity was extremely low.


In the immediate years after the end of the Second World War, food was still scarce and people were still subjected to harsh rationing. Then something changed. Throughout the 1950's saw a massive influx of food from The US becoming popular in the UK. A country that had become accustomed to austerity and rationing were suddenly introduced to manufactured foods such as burgers, hot dogs and french fries. This is where things began to deteriorate.

"Fast food" became the norm and more processed foods were becoming available, signalling a switch from freshly cooked food to processed and fatty foods.

Moving on

As the century moved on we, as nation became infatuated with processed foods that were quick to cook and that were full of flavouring. The moon landing in the 1960's paved the way for freeze-dried and dehydrated foods that merely needed rehydrating or heating up. The downside to this was that they were full of preservatives and synthetic ingredients.

Moving forward to the 1970/80's this addiction to fast food increased. No longer were freshly cooked meals the norm, it was now processed foods that could be cooked in the newly created microwave. It is interesting to note that while the population in the 1970's ate many more calories than we do today. they were also much more active, getting a lot more exercise than we currently do.

The problem with all this processed food is the control we, as consumers, have over the ingredients that go into it. Until the start of the 21st century, food labels were not 100% clear on what was included in their food, especially how much of one persons daily allowance was included in one particular package.

Modern Day

We are now far more aware of what is in our food but this happened stopped the increasing epidemic of obesity. The UK has become a country that relies on convenience food as working days get longer, traditional "stay at home parents" are on the decrease and blatant advertising markets children to want processed food.

It is also the case that we are now much less active as a population. There are some key factors that have played a part in this:

-Video games.
-Television (the couch potato effect)
- A reduction in the manual labour industry
- A culture of blame (it can't be my fault, must be someone else's)
- Laziness.

The answer?

There is no definitive answer as to how we can solve this epidemic. We are stuck in a circle of self-detriment and lacking responsibility. There are two rules, that if followed, would immediately bring down obesity in this country.

1. Eat less
2. Exercise more.

There is of course the blame culture. If every person in the UK took responsibility for their own health and followed these two rules, we would not doubt see a reduction in weight-altering surgery such as gastric-bypasses, thus freeing up money that could be better spent on education people on food.


Blame, Culture, Doctors, Food, Gastric Bypass, Greed, Obesity

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author avatar cwilko2011
English Post-grad guy who loves to read.

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author avatar Clayton dsilva
5th Jul 2011 (#)

Wow its a cool article mr cwilko this may be your name you write excellent keep on writing dude take care.....

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author avatar Denise O
5th Jul 2011 (#)

Obesity is a problem. You are so right, there is only two things that can change it. Nice read. Thank you for sharing.:)

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