“You can almost now tell someones background by their weight…” This is the comment made Conservative MP and Health Minister Anna Soubry when discussing how she can now ‘spot a poor child’ as they are usually overweight. The discussion reared its ugly head on Newsnight and while Anna did her best to fight her way out of a corner – actually if that was her best then the cabinet is doomed, but the long and short of is that she’s backed it up with some stats of children leaving primary school, of the obese children, 23% are from poverty backgrounds. These comments she said were, according to Anna, taken out of wider context in which she was given a rather pointless speech to the food and drink industry about, how, as fast food suppliers they are, essentially very naughty and immoral, but as one has come to expect from government policy, they simply plan to let them carry on popping 7 teaspoons of sugar into a can of coke and just scowl at them from across the room. Meanwhile they can shout at everyone for being fat from a safe distance.
There are many things that strike me as slightly nutty about Soubry’s comment.
1. If the stats show its 23% – realistically this is not a majority therefore suggesting that she can use her magic fat to poor ratio powers is just generally inaccurate.
2. Generally speaking I think people are on average unhealthier currently because we do live our lives in the fast lane. While it’s good to have a balanced diet and enjoy the food we love, when healthier ingredients and food choices are up to 10 times the price of a big mac, well we all need to make our pennies go further. Words alone and kindly stroking the big food companies will not make them better their ingredients – better yet, maybe we should lower the price of healthy food.
3. We need to focus less on overall size and get back to basics Anna, if you spent less time stalking fat people in the city centre trying to work out their bank balance and more time wondering how we can get moving, eating well and learning that size is not the decider on health then maybe (although it seems unlikely) you may not be so rubbish at your job.
Soundbites are no use.