Monday 1 March 2004

Glasgow: the healthy city

What on earth can we make of this?
Hull is the chubbiest town in Britain - while Kingston upon Thames is the leanest, an obesity league table has revealed.
And why Hull? It's "Up North" - from an English perspective, that is - and being northern isn't good for you:
The most likely to be overweight were white, working class families who have poor education and do little exercise. In contrast, people in the leanest towns are more likely to have the money to eat well and exercise. The towns with the poorest health were found to be working-class areas where people tended to be less well educated. The majority of the worst 10 areas were in the North of England and Wales, while the majority of the healthiest places were in the south east.
The accompanying chart does indeed show that most of Britain's chubbiest towns are in the north of England, especially Lancashire.

Unsurprisingly, the health food and exercise-minded folk are predominantly to be found in London's most prosperous boroughs and in the Surrey stockbroker belt.

And what of Scotland?

True to its image, middle-class Edinburgh comes in at number sixteen in the list of Britain's slimmest towns, no doubt because the residents have:

... better education about health issues. They will also have the money to buy lower-fat or organic foods.
But, how about this? Beating Edinburgh in the slim-town charts at number twelve is - wait for it - Glasgow!

The report claims that the lardbutt cities tend to contain:

... white working class people living in areas of council flats where diet is poor and exercise isn't taken regularly.

They are fairly old-fashioned communities, with more chip shops than Thai restaurants, for example.

I don't want to perpetuate a stereotype - for I do love the dear green place - but doesn't that sound just a tiny bit like Glasgow?

Was this survey carried out solely in the West End or Pollokshields? Do Glaswegians get an unusual amount of exercise running after rival members of the Old Firm? I think we should be told. In the meantime, perhaps I should catch a train through to Queen Street and treat myself to a large fish supper. Thai restaurants? Bah!