I can’t imagine anyone is all that surprised about the results. People in Britain don’t seem to have the same attitude to food as those in mainland Europe. This is not to say the rest of Europe is without its dietary faults, but it goes to prove my point that cheese and wine have way more nutritional value than we give them credit for.
Facetiousness aside for a moment, meal times are more likely to be just that outside of the UK, a time set aside to prepare and then pay attention to as you ingest it. What you read most on any report on the eating habits of the UK’s population is that they are too busy to eat properly. We appear to have a population surviving on convenience foods.
I think various other middle class women with a raging penchant for pasta (I really like pasta) have already written about the practicalities of sitting at the table to eat a home cooked tea. The pros being that not only do you know exactly what Mungo (could be the son, could be the dog for all I know reading some of these articles) is eating but also you can monitor how he holds his knife and fork.
What I am interested in is something Caitlin Moran first drew my attention to in her book How To Be a Woman. The notion of compulsive eating, “Overeating, or comfort eating, is the cheap, meek option of self-satisfaction, and self-obliteration”.
An NHS survey noted that women made up the majority of carers in the UK, we also have the most lone parents of any major European country and 90% are single mothers. As Moran notes, “Overeating is the addiction of choice of carers, and that’s why it’s come to be regarded as the lowest-ranking of all addictions. It’s a way of fucking yourself up whilst remaining fully functional, because you have to.”
What would happen if, between now and the next time a data agency publishes the BMI rates in Europe, our government invested in Sure Start centres (as opposed to closing them down), or professional help for carers? I wonder then where we might come in the list of European countries.
Perhaps for now we should all just aim for Caitlin Moran’s suggestion to be ‘human shaped’ as our healthy body target.