Thursday, August 30, 2007

Unhealthy compatriots

At a medical level, you might say, I would have thought it enough that Australian Internet news [my immediate informational contact with my land of birth] should reveal that equine flu had stopped the NSW spring racing carnival. But there seems to be worse news, of human kind.

There would appear to be what is referred to, in The Australian, as a "growing obesity epidemic". Now, this doesn't really surprise me in the sense that my French children and I first discovered the McDonald's phenomenon in Sydney, many years ago. Last year, during my brief excursion to Australia, I was shocked by specimens of obesity encountered everywhere, including my birthplace. In a South Grafton club, I witnessed a family of overweight monsters who appeared to be regarded as normal by the locals. At the place in Grafton where my dear departed father once sold spare parts for Ford automobiles, there is now a cake shop that distributes unbelievably heavy-weight luncheon stuff for workers. But my brief observations have little weight... you might say. So let me quote directly The Australian:

Almost all Australians are either eating poorly or exercising inadequately, while only five per cent meet national lifestyle guidelines, a new report shows. The landmark study of more than 16,000 Australians has painted a grim picture of a slothful, unhealthy nation falling short of its own recommendations for exercise and nutrition.

One in four—25 per cent—meet physical activity guidelines, while 55 per cent eat enough fruit and 15 per cent eat enough vegetables.

But an alarmingly small number—fewer than five per cent—met the criteria for all three guidelines, a statistic the University of Sydney and Deakin University researchers say is "extremely concerning".

At a personal level, I'm not directly involved in the problem to which I allude. I'm no longer directly concerned by Australia in general, because I've moved on. But I still react as if it were my birthplace [which it is] and my homeland [which it hasn't been, for ages].

I love a fat brown country...

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