A tall story from the healthy eating brigade

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That’s it then, I’d better update my will as, according to the latest scientific study into lifestyle I am cutting years off my life.

A study of the nation’s health records has concluded the best way to ensure a long and healthy life is if your waist size in inches is less than half your height. I read this during a break between a lunch of black pudding and mustard sausage roll and half a chorizo and my post meal snackette of blue vein cheese and biscuits and went very quiet.

It was not quite enough to put me off my meal but it did prompt me to give my swollen stomach a meaningful pat. It even crossed my mind to the visit the gym and get a return on my £70 a month but explaining where I have been for the past 23 weeks would take some explaining so I had a few squares of chilli and lime chocolate instead.

Despite my pitiful inaction the aforementioned article did give me the willies - it felt like the smoking gun which would leave the world in no doubt that I am fat, ticking timebomb. The evidence was irrefutable - in my socks I stand at 72-and-a-half inches (just over six foot for all you devotees to Imperial measurement) and my waist size is a pretty whopping 40 inches. On a good day.

In order to conform to these new guidelines I would have to be able to comfortably fit into 36 inch pants, a feat I have not achieved since Tony Blair was billed as the great British hope and whistles and white gloves were deemed to be acceptable items to take into nightclubs.

A weight loss that drastic it ain’t going to happen any time soon. But then I read the article again and realised it isn’t anything we have not heard before.

It is a repackaging of the fact that being overweight isn’t good for you. You and I know that, they know that but the healthy living message is one which loses impact very quickly which is why it constantly needs to be reinforced. The problem is the health industry is a rather cleverer version of the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf as for the past decade or so we the public have been bombarded with a barrage of unhealthy living scare stories.

We all know too much booze is a no, no or having a daily diet of red meat is on a par with a cigarette habit. We know we should walk to the shop rather than jump in the Vectra, we know all of these things.

The most telling statistic of this latest study is that two thirds of us break the waist/height rule. Clearly the message is not being heard.