Great article from yesterdays Guardian. Informative and frightening in equal measure!
We are, on average, 3st heavier than we were in the 60s. And not because we’re eating more or exercising less – we just unwittingly became sugar addicts
“Up a rickety staircase at the Newarke Houses Museum in Leicester, England hangs a portrait of Britain’s first obese man, painted in 1806.Daniel Lambert weighed 53st (335kg) and was considered a medical oddity. Too heavy to work, Lambert came up with an ingenious idea: he would charge people a shilling to see him. Lambert made a fortune, and his portrait shows him at the end of his life: affluent and respected – a celebrated son of Leicester.
Two hundred years on, I’m in a bariatric ambulance (an alternative term for obese, favoured by the medical world because it’s less shaming to patients) investigating why the UK is in the midst of an obesity crisis. The crew pick up a dozen Daniel Lamberts every week. Fifty-three stone is nothing special, it’s at the lower end of the weight spectrum, with only the 80st patients worthy of mention when a shift finishes. The specially designed ambulance carries an array of bariatric gizmos including a “spatula” to help with people who have fallen out of bed or, on a recent occasion, an obese man jammed between the two walls in his hallway. As well as the ambulance, there’s a convoy of support vehicles including a winch to lift patients onto a reinforced stretcher. In extreme cases, the cost of removing a patient to hospital can be up to £100,000, as seen in the recent case of 63st teenager Georgia Davis.”