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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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It might be a bit extreme but at least we’re talking about it

I was amazed to read that authorities in New Zealand have told a South African chef he is too fat to be allowed to live in the country and are deporting him.

Immigration officials have said Albert Buitenhuis, who weighs 130kg (that’s 20 and a half stones to me and you), did not have “an acceptable standard of health”.

Officials said an application by Mr Buitenhuis to stay had been rejected because his obesity put him at “significant risk” of complications including diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

It’s certainly an extreme attitude to adopt, but one that could be worth exploring.

Obesity is an issue that needs tackling urgently in this country.

It’s a great big ticking time-bomb of a gateau that will blow up in our faces unless we take serious action.

Some very clever and important people who have investigated the issue have warned that in a decade or so, it is going to cost each and every one of us millions to look after.

So if that’s the case maybe we need some more radical thinking, because every year we’re told that as a nation our waistlines are still expanding.

We’ve got healthy eating programmes, health watchdog stats and no shortage of experts poking around in our children’s lunchboxes telling parents what they ought to be feeding their offspring. At the same time of course, we’ve seen whole swathes of school playing fields and other open spaces sold off to developers.

We’re told to live a healthy outdoors life, and then those inclined to run, jog, walk or cycle are expected to battle alongside crowded commuter routes breathing in all manner of pollutants.

Jamie Oliver was notably frustrated in his attempts to make healthy eating a real government priority - almost as mush as he was thwarted by those mums shoving burgers through the school railings to their salad-starved young.

Overweight? Never mind you can always get a gastric band fitted to limit your calorie intake. Is that really the best we can do?

The Kiwis may have found their policy thrust them into the world media spotlight but at least their message seems to be crystal clear.

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