A big fat guy sat down next to me on the bus this morning. I like to think I’m a pretty tolerant person but I definitely recoiled a little bit. Some of it was just not wanting to rub up against a stranger on a bus for 30 minutes but part of it was the fact I am straight-up judgmental when it comes to people who are significantly overweight in the same way that I’m judgmental towards smokers and addicts.
I’m not saying I hate all fat people (that would be ridiculous), nor that I think the body image pushed by fashion-magazines is anything other than dangerous. I just think that obesity is a serious national health issue that we should actually be doing something about.
The most recent estimate I could find put the annual cost of obesity in Australia at $58 billion per annum (a number which is growing in step with our collective waistlines) and yet I can’t remember the last time there was a serious national discussion about this issue at all. We have a significant budget deficit and yet pay no attention at all to what is becoming a very large hole in the bucket.
Instead, we glorify gluttons and salivate over foodporn. It is no coincidence that the last decade of television has been dominated by Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules — they implicitly reinforce the comforting message that flavour is king and nutrition is an afterthought. Has there ever been an episode of either show where the judges have said: “tastes great, looks great, no nutritional value, low score”?
We all hide behind the vague concept of ‘healthy body image’ and neglect the reality that there is nothing healthy about our collective body. It’s as if the fact that we choose to accept our bloatedness somehow makes it OK. Well it’s not OK and we should be doing something about it.
Let me know what you think
PS: Pass the Tim-Tams