According to a well-publicised recent report, carried out by Engage Mutual Assurance, people aged 50 now on average feel fitter than people aged 25. Is this a shock? I think it should be, and if it isn't then we are well and truly doomed. Obesity and diabetes already cost the country an extraordinary amount of money. Money that could be used to fight against illness and conditions that the person suffering had little or no choice about contracting or developing.
The problem I have with obesity is that for the massive majority of people it has come about through lifestyle choices and is, therefore, avoidable. I know that some people will say that they are the exception and that being overweight is genetic, or due to an allergy or intolerance, but for most people I just don't buy it.
I read recently that if you removed gardening from the list of activities that people did in their week, only around 18% of our population would be doing the recommended amount of exercise each week! This doesn't really surprise me either, and that is the real shame of it.
It appears that we don't appreciate what we have got until it is gone, and with the onset of middle-age we are more conscious of our mortality, our changing shape and our potential for illness, and we are embracing healthier eating and regular exercise as a result. This of course is a great development but it does not reflect well on the attitude generally of our, supposedly, most productive age groups.
If we keep on this track of poor physical activity and shockingly poor eating and drinking habits, we are not only storing up a health time-bomb for the future but we are also presenting a role model to the children of this generation that says it is OK to be fat, it is OK to be idle and it is OK to allow everybody else to pick up the bill.
It isn't. There needs to be a shake up and a conscious decision to find out how fit (or more likely, unfit) the nation is. There needs to be encouragement to be more active and there needs to be less acceptance that being overweight and obese is ok. I don't think that it is.
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