Being someone who has never said no to extra chips, I have shifted more uneasily than normal this week ever since it was suggested I might soon turn into a super-sized American.
You know the ones – gargantuan chaps with their own postcode (or zip codes) in towelling shorts and loud shirts which once served as hot air balloons.
According to Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, being overweight is now the norm in this country.
Two thirds of the adult population is carrying too much timber – how do they know? There’s no way they could have weighed everyone because if the rest of the population is anything like me they won’t have any batteries in their scales.
Nonetheless, there is cause for concern, and dogged Dame Sally spent the day putting the meat on the bones of her annual report, through media interviews. In one BBC interview I heard, she warned ominously that we were in danger of rivalling the US when it came to the Fat Front. Clearly Dame Sally knows one end of a stethoscope from another after years of training and even longer at the coal face, while I have watched Holby City, but I fear she is overplaying her hand.
There is one thing her trying to hammer home the point with use of pejorative language, but she overstepped the mark when she ventured into fairytale territory. Yes, there are plenty of porky Brits, but overeating in this country is mere child’s play compared to mealtimes across The Pond.
America is the Land of Extremes – a place where excess is encouraged. It is the place where, as a schoolboy, I was introduced to the all-you-can-eat buffet, an assault course for the clinically obese.
Sure, there are now such places in this country, but they are still few and far between and usually come in the form of Chinese, or Indian establishments. Elements of this super-sized culture have crept into life over here, but it will be a cold day in hell before you catch a Limey having a burrito for breakfast.
That’s not to say we should be complacent, yes, some folk are getting larger and junk food and changes in lifestyle have a lot to answer for, but every town now has at least one giant gym and 17 slimming clubs, compared to 20 years ago when the only place you could get fit was dog mess littered football pitches and a pot-holey municipal tennis court.
We try to emulate America in many ways but are not yet ready to be crowned heavyweight champions of the world.