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Television's Unhealthy Obsession With Weight

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Amid the stench of stale Cava and hopeful resolution, television seemed to decide that last week was Fat Week, as a trans-channel surfeit of fat-fixated programming was broadcast. We love to watch weight in this country. Watch weight on the box, that is. I'm not certain where this fascination originates, perhaps in the kingly cult of Henry VIII, who stood on the scales in front of his privy council while his courtly physick pronounced "verily your Majesty, you are ginormous".

As part of the Fat Week initiative Channel 4 unveiled the Fat Fighters, a quartet of brazen gym-dwelling fiends whose diabolic scheme appears to be helping their victims shape up by dint of their own offensiveness. One refers to himself as 'Miller the Pillar'. He is a taut, well-honed bollock of a man, a slab of Muscle Beach meat who blurts vacuously "I'm not competitive because I know I'm the best".

Well, Mr. Pillar, you are not the best. I cup my manly bosoms at you. The only actions this show motivated me to was to look down to my spreading trunk, caress it like a beloved pet and thank it for insulating me from the hoary ravages of winter. And then perform elegant truffle-shuffles in front of the mirror by way of private protest. I am a Fat Defender, ready to take up my Toblerone as a weapon against those who seek to oppress bellies and bingo wings.

According to NHS stats, most British adults are overweight. We are a nation of fatty-boom-booms. We are Fat And Proud, to echo the title of Channel 5's contribution to Fat Week, in which folk brandished their off-the-hook obesity as an aspirational lifestyle choice. Although if fat pride is manifested in sad-eyed dancing to the sound of a hundred fetishists rubbing their thighs then maybe the Pillar's outlook should be re-appraised and I should sheath my Toblerone. It featured Big Girl's Paradise, an event intended to provide a sort of disco sanctuary for large ladies. But the promoter only sources venues without windows. Have fun, but do it underground and out of sight. Some aspiration.

Naturally a programme such as this isn't designed to provoke empathy or sympathy or any pathy for that matter. It just invites us to point at jiggly people with their boobs flopped out of their camisoles. It inspired me to look down again upon my stomach, and ponder that perhaps it still sits within manageable proportions.

The 74-Stone Babysitter on Channel 4 told the unfortunate story of a woman accused of killing her nephew. Its pre-occupation was not only with the intense finagling of the her legal team, but also the raw logistics of moving a person boasting the dimensions of a Ford Ka to and from the courthouse. I glanced again at the bulge above my belt, and thought at least I've got only one.

Fat Week is not an educational endeavour, it's an exercise in 'point and giggle' television. If anything is to be gleaned then it's to invoke the puritanical mantra, "moderation in all things". But with a modern adjunct, "complete abstinence from lifestyle programming".