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Portfolio politics

Louise Newson

Monday, 13 April 2015

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hamburger_shutterstock_250394746.jpgI have just returned from a two-day trip to Alton Towers theme park. Although my children had a fantastic time, I spent a vast majority of my time worrying about the appalling health of our nation. 

The majority of people there – adults and children – were either overweight or obese (or morbidly obese). It was actually very rare to see a family unit or group of friends in which every member had a normal BMI.

Obviously I have no idea what these people’s diets or exercise regimes are like at home but so many of them were happily drinking soft drinks or fizzy drinks and snacking on either crisps or sweets in the queues. 

We ate both nights at a buffet restaurant and although the choices were varied with some healthy options for the adults, my children had a choice of tinned spaghetti hoops, pizza, hot dogs or sausages as their main meals. All served with chips, of course!

I have always cooked meals from scratch for my children and I have a passion for healthy eating. So much so, in fact, that my husband has recently diagnosed me with “orthorexia nervosa” – this, apparently, is the compulsive following of healthy diets to the point where it becomes unhealthy.

However, although I am not sure this diagnosis is correct, I do not mind as I know my family’s diet is varied, healthy and does not contain any processed foods. My children are not overweight and they all enjoy food (even sweets!).

So am I wrong to be so concerned about how fat British people are becoming? I worry about the average British diet and the greed of our nation which is compounded by the improved availability of cheap, unhealthy food. Although it is easy to argue that the consumers are generally to blame for buying these foods, surely the producers of these foods (and drinks) need to take some blame?

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Louise Newson

Louise is a part-time GP in Solihull, as well as a writer for numerous medical publications, including She is an Editor and Reviewer for e-learning courses for the RCGP. She is an Editor for Geriatric Medicine journal and the British Journal of Family Medicine. Louise has contributed to various healthcare articles in many different newspapers and magazines and is the spokesperson for The Information Standard. She has also done television and radio work. Louise is a medical consultant for Maverick TV and has participated regularly in ‘Embarrassing Bodies Live from the Clinic’. Louise has three young children and is married to a consultant urological surgeon. Although her spare time is limited she enjoys practising ashtanga yoga regularly and loves road cycling – she has raised over £2K for a local charity, Molly Olly Wishes by competing in a 120km cycle ride!

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