November 24, 2014

Don't let the dreaded 'Ned Kelly' take over

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 53 comments ·
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Like many fortysomething Irish men, I try to live a reasonably healthy life in between the pints, the Twixes and a car dashboard littered with sandwich wrappers, milky takeaway coffee cups and more than the odd crumpled up, badly-hidden bag of Tayto. Let’s just say that if the car were preserved as a crime scene, you wouldn’t need the microscopic tricks of those fancy lads from CSI to get a conviction.

As a result, twice a week I haul myself around football pitches playing something that vaguely resembles a game we once played as teenagers.

Today, I don’t drink as many pints as I used to, but I should drink less wine, a lot less! I generally don’t gorge excessively. Owning a labrador (who is also fighting the middle-aged spread) helps to get me out of the house and up the hill most mornings. Unlike some of my friends, I haven’t succumbed to the racing bike, but there’s always time.

I have always liked playing sport, but have no personal discipline, so gyms aren’t an option. I need other lads roaring at me to keep up, so team sports like football are essential. There is also a great release where I can lose the rag and explode on the pitch in a way I can’t do anywhere else. I have tried to point out to the lads that midweek pints after the match aren’t the smartest, but you have to be sociable, don’t you?

However, the main concern – and it’s more a “lurking in the back of the mind” concern, than a daily anxiety – is to stay healthy as I get older and not put on too much weight.

The weight thing is part male vanity prompted by the arrival of the dreaded Ned Kelly, but it is also an awareness that fat kills and fat kills early and unpleasantly. It is hard to overstate just how destructive being overweight can be and how hard it is to lose weight once you put it on. Ireland is getting fat at a rate few of us can appreciate, yet which we can see all around us.

Over 30 per cent of Irish men and women are now either overweight or obese. Rates of obesity throughout the population are rising at about 1 per cent per annum. So, every year, an extra 1 per cent of the population becomes overweight or obese. This is truly shocking because we are talking here about between 40,000 and 50,000 people per year in Ireland alone. Consider if these rates continue as they have been since 2005, 80 per cent of the Irish population between the ages of 21 and 60 could be obese or overweight by 2040.

This is new. Imagine you were to measure Irish people’s existence since the first hunter-gatherers came here in terms of a 24-hour clock. Up to 11.55pm the problem for Irish people wouldn’t have been too much food, but too little! We forget that significant hunger was part of human existence up until recently, and we with our famine history should appreciate this.

Now this has changed. Worldwide today, there are nearly two and a half times more people overweight or obese than there are people undernourished. This is a huge dilemma. We have gone from not enough food to too much food in 40 years, and obesity has rocketed.

This week a new study by McKinsey lays out the figures – and they are shocking. More than 2.1 billion people – nearly 30 per cent of the global population – are overweight or obese. Obesity, which should be preventable, is now responsible for about 5 per cent of all deaths worldwide from a variety of diseases ranging from diabetes to heart disease and respiratory illnesses. According to McKinsey, the global economic impact of obesity is roughly $2 trillion. This is 2.8 per cent of global GDP. This figure is equivalent to the GDP of Italy or Russia. Obesity today has the same negative impact on the global economy as armed conflict, and only a shade less than smoking.

Around the world, 2 to 7 per cent of all direct healthcare spending relates to measures to prevent and treat this condition. Up to 20 per cent of all healthcare spending is attributable to obesity, through related diseases such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease. These healthcare costs place a massive burden on government finances. Furthermore, overall economic productivity and employers are both affected by impaired productivity because overweight and obese employees get sick more often.

Things are getting worse, quickly. Extrapolating from the figures in the report, by 2050, a quarter of children in Ireland could be obese. And these will be poor children, not rich children. Kids in the most deprived areas are twice as likely to be obese as kids from rich areas. One of the biggest leading indicators of obesity in children is if they have obese or overweight parents.

There are many reasons that can explain why we are getting fat. For example, we evolved as a species worried about starvation so the body is able to store energy as fat when there is too little food around. When there is too much, we don’t have the reverse mechanism.

Food is much cheaper than it used to be. Modern life means we sit around more and children do less exercise. For example, in 1969 about 40 per cent of US schoolchildren walked or rode their bikes to school; by 2001, only 13 per cent did.

We are urbanising, too. As we get richer, we eat out more and change the way we eat. Did you know that you eat twice as much if you eat with a group of seven than if you eat alone?

Obesity is a global epidemic and, in Ireland, we are already well on our way to a fat future with all its attendant problems and cost, both material and emotional.

The state needs to take this problem seriously and realise that, to slow down the obesity rates, it needs to embark on a massive education programme to warn people about how they are ruining their own lives by eating the wrong stuff and not exercising enough. The change in behaviour doesn’t have to be dramatic. Eating a little bit less and exercising a little bit more would be a good place to start.

Otherwise, the logical political conclusion ise that the fit and healthy will ask why their taxes are being used to cure the health problems of the lazy and obese, particularly when those health problems look to be entirely self-inflicted.


  1. SMOKEY

    David I love it when you get it wrong, Im usually like Solieri looking at Mozarts unedited first drafts of symphony.
    You are usually 100% but you have this totally wrong.
    Why would you ask this or any Government to “educate” the masses.
    Which overweight fat bloated horse breathed fuck up would you put in charge? Reilly? Varadker? Oh how about Noonan? Mary Lou? Hmmmmm?
    These disgusting pigs should not be educating you or anyone else on anything, particularly trans fats or the glycemic index and the dangers of a low fiber high saturated fat diet.
    Any click of the mouse online in your favourite search engine, can find fantastic workout programs, sound dieting advice and endless information of how to combine the two. Yes dodgy advice too but I don’t need Mary Harney sorting it out for me. Im not waiting for Obamacare to save me.
    If you are letting your kids eat themselves fat, and many parents do, no amount of “nanny state” big brother bullshit is going to help.
    KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OUT of your kitchen. Fat people will not help themselves, unless it is to a second portion of chips, unless they are ready. There is already too much government interference with our lives and, if you cant look in the mirror and cop that you are a fat fuck who needs to “move more, eat less, and drink more water” Than tough shit paddy.
    Bloomberg tried to ban large soft drinks in New York. What fucking business is it of his? None. The only thing a politician will do is find a way to “tax” more of your food. If you fill your trolley with twix and by the way that is a shit piece of candy, you could at least buy some of the 74% cocoa bars at lidl, or Lidl whatever the fuck its called, then go ahead and fill your trolley with this garbage. I will not stand in your way, its none of mine or “governments” business. Now I am going to make a spinach and cheese omelette with onion and tomato, don’t judge me too harshly as I wrote this while on my Schwinn recumbent exer-cycle!

    • cooldude

      Excellent points Smokey. It all boils down to personal responsibility and having access to good information on all aspects of health. A website I find very useful is http://www.mercola.com which has a great search engine and has some great ideas and exercise videos. I buy that 74% cocoa chocolate in Lidl also. Good gear actually.

    • yadayada

      Don’t forget – the next time there’s a famine, all those lardy burger buckets you see wobbling about these days will still be wandering around long after you and I and all the other skinnies are long gone.

    • SMOKEY

      Oh and the plural of Twix is “Twix”! Not Twixes, when in retail I wouldn’t order 5 cases of Twixes, I would order 5 cases of “Twix”
      And if Im wrong then it shouldn’t it be the “badly hidden bag of Tayto’s!”

    • nice and tasty comments Smokey

    • Deco

      Fair points – the state is more interested in maintaining the superficiality of everything being impressive, while ensuring that vested interests do not have to suffer any loss of profit.

      Do you really think that any government minister would take on the powerful (big fish in a small bowl) Alco-business lobby ?

    • Fergal73

      As long as obese people get treated in hospitals by taxpayers money, then it absolutely is an issue that government should regulate / educate.
      Taxpayers ARE paying for this. Personally, I’d like my taxes to be lower, if that can be achieved by having less fat people, I’m happy with that. So, yes – go ahead and educate, tax sweets and soft drinks and milk chocolate along with other foods that are proven to contribute to obesity . Admittedly, that is a difficult list to compile, but we could start with all foods with more than X% in added sugar or foods that have been shown to be linked with health issues.

      So, “why educate the masses?” Because TAXPAYERS pay for the bad habits and ill health of those same fat masses.

      • Maybe the health service could be privatised and then people pay for their own bad habits and not the taxpayer. Sooner or later this will happen as the government bill for healthcare grows exponentially. That bill plus interest on the debt eats up most of the budget already leaving no money for anything else!!

        Soon all taxpayers will be subsumed by everyones health bill!

        When financial systems break it will be each responsible for themselves and we will all be skinny again just like the actors in all those old 1920-30′s movies.

        • By 2016–17, In BC
          total health-care spending will reach $19.6 billion — more than 42 per cent of all
          government spending.

          http://bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2014/highlights/2014_Highlights.pdf

          • That $2.5 billion payment means six cents out of every dollar you send to Victoria is being wasted paying interest on the debt. And the payment keeps going up: next year it will be $2.66 billion, the year after $2.89 billion—just in interest.

            At todays low interest 6% of BC budget for a healthcare and 42% healthcare total of 48% of BC budget.

            Add federal, and municipal debt payments etc ………….
            BC is fiscally conservative yet the debt level is nearly double that of 2008.

            Capital expenses are not on the provincial budget. True there should be underlying assets in support of the growing debt. So even though the budget is balanced the provincial debt is growing by billions a year.

            A bit like a person ignoring the debt accumulation on real estate purchases and yet the mortgage payments have to come out of current revenue.

  2. Initially I thought from the caption of the article it was about the Rugby success on Saturday , then as I read it I thought should it get a PG cert for hard core cookery and car clean principles .Eventually I agreed the article is about felony whereby the national interest of the country indulges in gluttony .

  3. michaelcoughlan

    Brogan has the answer.

    Put a few drills of spuds in your garden. You get fitter happier and have supplied yourself with your own food.

    What the article hasn’t said is that a lot of “food” is stripped of its nutrition in the processing phase and lots of sugar added. Why put sugar in? Highly addictive stuff which keeps you buying the shite containing all the sugar. Also fucks up the seretonin chemical in the body. Seretonin is the feel good chemical.

    When there is too much sugar in your system your insulin converts the sugar to fat. You feel bad because seretonin is adversely affected from loss of sugar and you crave to get more shite containing sugar. Accountants know this.

    http://www.drfranklipman.com/20-ways-to-get-sugar-out-of-your-life/

    • Well Michael, thanks for the honourable mention!! :) I also agree with you as expressed above.

      There is a greater problem than lack of exercise and eating too much and that is the quality of the food as mentioned.

      processed foods are mostly refined starches.
      Stick to organic where possible.
      Second is the contaminated food from herbicides/pesticides etc. Evidence is mounting of all manner of induced disease and even chemical changes to the body particularly in the case of glycophate the chemical trade named Roundup. It is absorbed into the soil, kills micro organisms in the soil which causes the soil to become sterile. This is also absorbed into the plants and in turn absorbed into the animals.

      GM crops are all suspect as are the animals and people who consume such food as glycophate is eventually a deadly poison. It is also a cause of sterility.

      As mentioned before. one could do worse than eat organically grown spuds and drink raw milk. (At least look for organic milk that is not homogenized).

      Eat well stay healthy.

  4. sravrannies

    I think the article opens up a much broader question about the type of society we live in and want to live in. How much personal responsibility people should take for obesity, for example and how much responsibility the government should take for the problem. What is the correct mix? I do believe the majority of people in Ireland have become far too dependent on the Government for hand-outs/cushy jobs/benefits but are also very quick to blame ‘the Government’ for just about anything as though it was some external foreign entity controlling them. But,I do agree, it does require education to educate people to change these attitudes – the Government should do something!

    • People must be responsible for themselves.
      Demand the government ban the chemicals!! In other ways the government does too darn much already. The power of the consumer is still paramount. Just do not buy the crap and it will disappear from the shelves.

      Ask for organic and it will appear. It already has and the price differential is such that organic food is already priced on a par with the garbage.

      Choices, choices.

  5. sravrannies

    I think the article opens up a much broader question about the type of society we live in and want to live in. How much personal responsibility people should take for obesity, for example and how much responsibility the government should take for the problem. What is the correct mix? I do believe the majority of people in Ireland have become far too dependent on the Government for hand-outs/cushy jobs/benefits but are also very quick to blame ‘the Government’ for just about anything as though it was some external foreign entity controlling them. But,I do agree, it does require education to educate people to change these attitudes – the Government should do something!

  6. St Thomas Aquinas

    He defines gluttony as : eating of food that is ‘too luxurious , exotic , or costly or excessive in quantity or gorging on grub that is too daintily or elaborately prepared , eating too soon or at an inappropriate time and eating too eagerly’ .This is banned by the Catholic Church .

  7. I’ll try and get in before all the conspiracy theorists come up with dangers of sugar, salt, fat, protein carbohydrates, and whatever else your havin’. Its very simple- don’t eat too much, and make sure you eat mostly plant based foods. Exercise, while good for you, cannot be a main element of weight loss. The only way to lose weight is to eat less.
    If your worried that this is a bit of shameless advertising for my business, your correct. Thanks David :-)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/diet-and-nutrition_b_5427555.html

    • jackofalltrades

      @Peter

      “Eat yourself slim” is a book that speaks alot about nutrition (vs calories) of different foods and also of how our metabolism (often side-stepped) plays a significant role in our diets.

      Chapter 1 – “the calorie paradox” you can ‘read inside’ for free in this link

      http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Yourself-Slim-Michel-Montignac/dp/0968402909

      Actually,i distinctly recalll the autor mentioning that a meal of steak and chips was “heresy”,from the viewpoint of combining proteins and carbs in one’s diet.

      Just wondering Peter if you’ve read this( somewhat old) book and how you’d rate it today?

  8. Mike Lucey

    Maybe its not a bad thing from the perspective of world human overpopulation. Maybe governments should be encouraging folks to eat as much fatty stuff and have a few fags while doing so!

    It seems that there are at least 2 if not 3 billion folks too many around for the World to sustain on an ongoing basis. Maybe the obesity epidemic is Nature’s way of sorting things out? Nature has always found ways of balancing things out.

  9. sdempsey

    I’m not sure any education is required, we already know the answers. Many people still smoke even though they’ll admit that it will shorten their lives and may lead to horrible illnesses such as emphysema and lung cancer. People don’t see that the food is bad and it’s not like everyone who is obese is living on a diet of pizzas and chips. The scales are tipped by stress in personal and professional lives, the availability of cheap foods of high calorific value and longer sedentary working hours. The diet of the average Irish farmer before the potato famine would have had 4,000 + calories. It was a high carb diet BUT those farmers worked very hard in manual labour so they didn’t become overweight. As we move towards jobs where we strain our finger and eye muscles more than our biceps, we become less healthy and enter the vicious cycle of weight gain, increasingly disinclination to exercise and depression. The problem isn’t just the diet, it’s the lifestyle. Give companies a tax break for lowering BMI’s and upping V02 max for their staff and we’d have a nation of athletes. As it is, the incentives are towards burning out staff with increasingly unhealthy and stressful work lives. Everything else is fixed with anti-depressants despite ample evidence that moderate physical exercise brings greater psychological and physiological benefits.

    • douglaskastle

      I have to agree with and enhance this sentiment. My wives side of the family smoke like chimneys. Last year her aunt was diagnosed with emphysema, she’s living on oxygen and can’t climb stairs any more. She’s been in hospital twice, given the “She’ll be lucky to last the weekend” diagnosis. Has this stopped any body else in the family stopped, no! What kinda of education can trump watching a family member dies? Which it in of itself appears to be unsuccessful.

  10. coldblow

    Can’t say I’ve noticed all these fat people walking around. Excuse me, I believe the word is ‘obese’ is it? Surely that is just the posh word for fat. (In the same way, I might go to the hospital but my neighbour ‘presents’.) Now, I have read about all these obeseniks and people, who have also read about them or watched documentaries about them, have also told me about them, yet that is not quite the same thing as *seeing* them. If there were that many of them they’d block the light from getting through. Like the Apostle Thomas, seeing is believing.

    I am lucky in that I can walk a mile into work and the same distance (if that isn’t a coincidence) going home in the evening. I eat my dinner and fill the plate with spuds afterwards and mash in plenty of butter. My weight hasn’t changed over the years.

    I wonder if some of this is in the mind. There is an interesting bit about food requirements in Rupert Sheldrake’s Science Delusion.

    The government have two options, it seems to me:

    1 Redefine obesity as anyone over 20 stone (or metric equivalent).

    2 ‘Roll out’ (as the saying goes) a re-education programme. This could involve a revamp of Operation Transformation by incorporating big-name RTE stars. Libraries could be involved and special national ‘fun runs’ organized, with perhaps some spot prizes. Legislation could make it compulsory to include at least 5 health-awareness related questions in standard table quizes (12 rounds of 6 questions). Spot prizes at these events should include a healthy option.

    In schools further curriculum time should be dedicated to this important issue. In addition to standard classes in PSEU and CPSU a further three modules per week should be provided for. A stimulating, fun education ‘pack’ could be provided, encouraging the active participation of pupils, and involving NGOs and big-name RTE stars to provide imaginative and innovative new ‘synergies’. These modules should be taught in appropriate laboratory conditions and pupils required to wear white laboratory coats.

    That loud woman from British tv could be brought over to host a special series involving big-name RTE stars, involving twice-weekly weigh-ins and examination of waste products, and shouting at the participants.

    A comprehensive, pay as you go, metering system for fats, calories and cholesterol (this will need to be flexible to allow the removal and insertion of designated risks as these are subject to abrupt change due to the whims of medical science) to be rolled out…

  11. Mike Lucey

    Did Michael O’Leary at some time hit at charging passengers by the kilo? Now that would help also;-)

    • Yes I have often thought that the skinny 100 pound lady with a suitcase should pay less than the overweight 300 lb business man with no luggage.

      Not to mention sitting next to the “large” who spill over into my seat on the plane!! They should pay for volume occupied!!

  12. davybunyip

    I have to agree with David’s article, irish obesity levels are shocking and unlike smokey I think the state has to step in and take charge. As a teacher for the last fourteen years I have taught a succession of first years who have gotten bigger and bigger. I think there are many reasons for this, yes as david points out food is more readily available and in bigger quantities but it also the types of foods that we eat. I remember doing an eating survey with second years around about ten years ago to find out about the types of foods they ate and in what frequencies. The norm was “chippers” or Chinese every night and I remember one girl telling me that for a special treat her mother would cook her a meal. I am not that old,38, but I remember for my birthday you got to eat out and that was the treat. Re-educating these parents should be a priority!

    This problem is exacerbated by the fact that in most households both parents work and when they come home after working a full day and a hellish commute they then have to prepare dinner for themselves and the kids before the process repeats itself. That is not an excuse but it is a reality. In my own school much to the annoyance of some parents they have cut PE from the curriculum for sixth years to make more room for maths as the girls are under such pressure to get maximum points in the leaving cert that they all take higher maths,regardless of ability. This send completely the wrong signals but more and more the curriculum is getting squeezed until it is all about the leaving cert and subjects that cannot get you points are seen as second rate.

    To my mind all pupils, in primary and secondary should be getting a minimum of 30 minutes exercise a day. This coupled with education about what to eat to stay healthy should be continuously drummed into them. I live in navan and there are two primary schools in the town where the playgrounds are so crowded that the pupils are not aloud to runaround at break time unless they injure each other!

    It is not a question of the nanny state but the government has a responsibility to the welfare of all it’s citizens; you can right off adults saying they should know better but irish kids should be given the knowledge and the skills to keep themselves fit for the rest of their lives, regardless of the fault of their parents.

    • tomahawk

      fully agree
      kids need defined fun fun fun exercise programme every day.
      If the yard is too small you can stagger the stints (puns intended)
      Will learn better too!
      Schools here too have cut back on PE cos of academic pressures…disgraceful

  13. CorkPlasticPaddy

    Look, It’s very simple! The reason why kids and adults are becoming obese is down to modern day parenting. A lot of parents today just couldn’t be bothered cooking nutritious meals. It’s all down to convenience foods that most of our kids are putting on weight. Tins of this and packets of that all contributes to this problem. There’s also the fact that a lot of what you could call nutritious foodstuffs are out of the price range for a lot of Irish families. The price of meat and fish has become astronomical for many, so, they’re caught in the ‘poor’ food trap!!

    You can educate and inform until the ‘cows come home’, but in the end it all boils down to what people can afford to eat if you ask me?

    • davybunyip

      How much does a take away cost versus the price of a home made spag Bol?i agree with convenience but not on price. Take away’s are more convenient.

  14. jackofalltrades

    “Let’s just say that if the car were preserved as a crime scene, you wouldn’t need the microscopic tricks of those fancy lads from CSI to get a conviction”

    I’m still chuckin’ at that one !lol

    • jackofalltrades

      *typo – chucklin’

      but jokes aside,it is a very serious topic,as our host says .Lives are being lost,and/or drastically shortened,made miserable and it’s often needlessly so.

      Genetics play a huge role in weight gain and that can’t be denied,but yunno ,it’s the disinformation of extensive marketing campaigns of 99% FAT FREE that i find horrid.While factually correct,the advertisers neglect to mention the maybe 65%+ sugar content!! It’s deception,on a grand scale…just more illusion!

      Any breakfast cereal (like Kellogs Frosties lets say) when advertised on tv is ‘targeting’ the child (the consumer)and in addition to a promised sugar ‘hit’[which young Tommy can self regulate/self medicate really],the drug dealers real intention is of establishing a foot-hold in the early stages of a child’s development for future,and often life long addiction.

      So maybe an offer of a free toy inside,young Tommy pesters and mom or dad (the customers) are appeased with some bullsh*it of vitamins A,B,C and D present in every pack,and the kid are sugar junkies by their teens.

      And “the white death” is an addiction, peoples.

      • jackofalltrades

        “the lazy and obese” David said,,,I understand that our host didn’t mean it in a nasty way,but why oh why is it so often that these adjectives seem to be inextricably linked?

        All i can say is that i’m so glad i’m not female.When you think of the relentless advertising targeting women –the ideal weight, the ideal frame, the ideal breast size etc

        “Fat arse” … just harmless blackguarding right? Wrong!It’s dehumanising!In a breath,we stop seeing people for who they are,on the inside…Mere appearance will suffice,for some.But there’ll always be the insensitive “cankles”[especially reprehensible] comments from morons who have no idea,none,of how such comments,be it drip-feed or otherwise, can devastate one’s self-confidence.(especially when,as a society, culturally even,we place so much importance of ‘measuring up to’ the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie)

        Some people just have an unhealthy relationship with food,some say it’s self-inflicted, comfort eating they say, , others may say it’s self-sabotage, either way,i say it’s an addiction and a disease of the mind and ought to be treated as such,with kindness,,patience and understanding the root causes,for each individual and unique person.

        The solution is education and a cultural shift for the Irish to take better care of themselves.

        speaking of cultural change and the power of one,this went viral,very creative work.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuJnvC8voJY

  15. jackofalltrades

    Speaking of education and knowledge,this mural in Darakshan refugee camp, Irbil, northern Iraq, says “Knowledge is light.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-30105501

  16. mishco

    This short article implies that, here in S. Korea, boys these days tend to suffer more from obesity than girls.
    http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20141012000167
    They also spend much more time than girls playing computer games. And there is still a tendency for mothers to spoil their sons more than their daughters. This often means excess pocket money for evening “snacks”, as the kids trawl from one private academy to another.

    Mum may cook a meal at the weekends, but she’s pretty tired as she’s been working all week just like Dad. There is obesity among girls too, but this is countered by the obsession with “slim” for girls, propagated endlessly by the media.

    I think the answer lies partly with the parents, but more with the schools. More PE, weekly classes on nutrition, and in such a rich country, the construction of more swimming-pools should be a no-brainer. Many people here can’t swim, and it’s a great way to stay in shape (alive even). No one can expect a 10-year-old to take personal responsibility for his weight 10 more years down the line, and parents are not going to change their rat-race lifestyle any time soon here.

    Surely schools, which have control over kids’ lives for 8 hours a day, should be doing their best to battle obesity. At least school meals here are monitored by a nutritionist, and Korean kids mostly still love kimchi! But it’s not enough.

    • coldblow

      Mishco

      Nothing personal, but I find very little to agree with in your comment. Would you be the same poster who wrote a few months ago about a visit to Vietnam, to a coffee stall, where the women did all the hard work while the men were mere drones? Apologies if I am wrong.

      Are you implying that it is somehow the fault of young boys if they are ‘obese’, because they have been spoilt?

      I remain to be convinced that there is a problem, and then I would contend that the schools can’t do much about it. Do our poor school children have to suffer yet more useless waffle?

      Where I disagree with you most, however, is about swimming, an activity I hated at school. My son has taken after me. Have you noticed that school notes about swimming always, but always, stress, in bold and capitals, that swimming is part of the curriculum and that no child is excused. Why would that be, if it so wonderful? Will no-one give these children a break?

      Nothing personal, mind.

  17. Deco

    TELLY-BELLY !!!

    Of course there is an obesity problem. Middle aged suburban males sitting on the couch watching television, being fed a daily diet of comical distraction, and high adrenalin irrelevancy.

    • Deco

      The biggest problem is not the useless deadweight around the belly, from the telly – but the useless deadweight between the two ears that comes from Telly.

  18. Deco

    Roisin Shortall, when she was a minister, declared that Ireland had an alcohol consumption problem, and that Ireland’s health system was carrying the results.

    Shortall suggested that Ireland needed to decrease it’s total alcohol consumption, for health reasons.

    The Guinness gut was for the cut.

    But instead Shortall got the cut. Officially it was about primary care centres.

    But the manner in which the “Labour” Party (how come none of them ever tried any) discarded Shortall, suggests that the party leadership had already made their minds up that Shortall was causing them “discomfort”.

  19. Deco

    Roisin Shortall, when she was a minister, declared that Ireland had an alcohol consumption problem, and that Ireland’s health system was carrying the results.

    Shortall suggested that Ireland needed to decrease it’s total alcohol consumption, for health reasons.

    The Guinness gut was for the cut.

    But instead Shortall got the cut. Officially it was about primary care centres.

    But the manner in which the “Labour” Party (how come none of them ever tried any) discarded Shortall, suggests that the party leadership had already made their minds up that Shortall was causing them “discomfort”.

  20. coldblow

    I just conducted an experment at work.

    Kathleen, is there an epidemic of obesity in Ireland?

    K1 They say so but I haven’t seen it.

    K2 They are talking about it but I haven’t seen it.

    Me: I haven’t seen it either.

    I did not lean on them to give the right answer (not that there is such as thing as a ‘right’ answer).

    You can prepare a delicious nutritious home-cooked meal for the whole family in just a few short minutes using fresh natural ingredients at just a fraction of the cost of a take-away!

    I got that off the telly. Keep repeating it in an annoying sing-song voice and somebody *will* hit you.

  21. Central banks are way over weight and pompous to boot.

    ““The initiative is dangerous because it would weaken the SNB,” he told an audience near Zurich last week. “The connection between a minimum share and a ban on selling which it embraces would very severely impair our monetary policy room for manoeuvre.”

    That is exactly what honest money does. Keeps bankers honest. It restricts them from spoiling the economy through unbridled printing or inflation of the currency. like all fat bloated institutions it will die a premature death. Likr the bloated government we can not afford it any more.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/25/fears-switzerland-referendum-spark-gold-rush

  22. currencies in waterfall

    On the U.S. dollar, Mannarino says, “The U.S. dollar is in a terminal phase. I don’t care what dollar’s strength is recently with regard to other currencies out there. We have countries, specifically China and specifically Russia, who are betting against the U.S. dollar. How do I know they are doing this? They are acquiring huge amounts of gold with these suppressed prices. This is what everybody needs to do as well. Bet against the debt and become your own central bank. . . . The U.S. dollar is a dying currency. It is in the terminal phase. Russia understands this. China understands this. The only people who don’t understand this is the zombified American populous. It’s very, very sad. This is why shows like this are so important. I am afraid that people like us are going to become more and more censored.”

    http://usawatchdog.com/central-banks-absolutely-desperate-dollar-terminal-gregory-mannarino/

  23. Why the one per cent will eat well and the rest of us will be reduced to the poor under nourishment of the cheapest food available?

    Why the rich will grow fat and sassy and the rest obese and sickly.

    It all reduces to central bank policies. The central banks will be the death of us. We need to concentrate on the basic problem and not be diverted into and distracted by other relatively minor issues.

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/11/24/swiss-gold-referendum-really-means-paul-craig-roberts/

    • With all due respect the author does not address the major cause of no lending or borrowing happening and as such does not really know what he is talking about. Either that or he is a mouth piece for the establishment.

      Debt saturation in the economies is the major problem. Every new unit of account added by central banks is loaned into existence; Thereby adding to the amount of currency, now in exponential fashion,and additional debt also exponentially. Interest rates must go lower and lower in order for there to be a semblance of ability to pay the increasing interest charges. Rates are already heading below zero to negative territory.

      We already virtually pay people to borrow money.

      If the so called helicopter (remember Ben) cash bomb is dropped on to the people it is issued by the central bank and loaned into existence. So under this scenario only government can order such a drop and this money will be added to the national debt thereby impoverishing us all even more, never mind the monetary inflation.

      One thing that could be done is to issue treasury notes as distinct from Central bank notes. These can be issued without interest or debt and so avoid the build up of debt and interest.

      But this sidesteps the central banking system so who needs them. They are the cause of the debt problem and the need to ever expand the money supply at ever increasing velocity. So let us be rid of central banks.

      We are in the beginning stages of a Weimar style world wide currency collapse.

      Even issuing money debt free from treasury is not the solution as government will constantly add to the money supply which is the definition of inflation. It matters not who does the expansion the result is always the same. A devalued currency that buys less and less until the currency is in fact worthless.

      The final answer is to be rid of the central banking system. Abolish legal tender laws and let all people use whatever they wish as money.
      Back the or any government money with precious metals in a ratio as defined by the simple process of dividing the value of the currency issued by the amount of gold at hand. Those with the largest amount of gold relative to currency issued will have the most desirable currency and so the the strongest.

      That is why there is a gold rush already started, in progress, as governments around the world buy gold, repatriate gold, and allow their citizens to have gold as money.

      The Swiss were the last to abandon the gold backed standard to their currency and it has been in a free fall ever since. They may be the first to reverse this trend if the 30th November vote is a yes. Some in Switzerland wish to have at least 20% of foreign reserves held in gold (currently 7%) , prohibit the future sale of gold, and to repatriate all Swiss gold held abroad.

      If this referendum passes, it will become constitutional law and the Swiss will not require any helicopter loads of money as their currency will again be the strongest in the world.

      In the meantime some estimate China already has anywhere from 15-35,000 tonnes of gold as they inexorably prepare to be the major economic power of the world.

      Helicopter drops are not the answer. A reversion to the gold standard is.

  24. Announcement (hopefully some will respond)

    We will be in Ireland Dec 28th-Jan 12th with no set agenda but with wheels. Hopefully we will meet a few posters and share a laugh or too as we solve the worlds problems.

    If you wish contact me at tony@tonybrogan.com and I will drive to wherever you are. Could be a fun trip!!

    (Thanks, David for allowing this post :)

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