Fatty ArbuckleBy Bill Heaney

Fat people have always been figures of fun.  Take Fatty ‘Roscoe’ Arbuckle, for example. He pulled them in at “the pictures” at the beginning of last century.

Much of the fun surrounding Laurel and Hardy emanated from the fact that Costello was a large person, bursting out of his clothes.

In the 21st century, we talk about people being obese – never fat, which is considered politically incorrect.

We now know that the main cause of obesity is over-eating.

Or simply being on a poor diet, although certain illness can cause people to put on weight.

And we know that overweight people are costing the NHS a fortune when it comes to treating them at home and in hospital.

Many sufferers have to live with cruel insults and the accusation that it’s all their own fault for being fat.

They are pilloried for being “gluttons,” which this week has been exposed as nonsense.

For it seems that poverty, the simple fact of being poor, can make a person fat.

And that people from deprived backgrounds are twice as likely to be obese.

LibDems Alex Cole Hamilton, Jennifer Lang and Laurel and Hardy.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has called on the Scottish Government to do more to help those from deprived backgrounds make healthy decisions.

This follows the publication of new statistics which show that children from the most deprived backgrounds are more than twice as likely to be “at risk of obesity” compared to those from the least deprived backgrounds

Official figures reveal that 13.7% of the ‘most deprived’ primary one pupils in our schools are at risk of obesity (BMI>=95th), compared to 6.5% of the ‘least deprived’ primary ones.

The gap between the most and least deprived in terms of obesity is widening, according to the LibDems who are represented in West Dunbartonshire by Jennifer Lang.

In a pre-General Election statement, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Obesity not only negatively affects people’s quality of life; it also puts a huge strain on the NHS.

“Your background should not dictate your well-being, but these statistics show that since the SNP came into power that has increasingly become the case.

“Fostering healthy habits at a young age has real long-term benefits for families and our health service across their lifetime.

“We need to ensure that every parent in Scotland has access to the support and information they need to give their child a healthy start in life.

He maintains that the Liberal Democrats would invest in sport, support people to make informed choices and dodge junk food, as well as extend the rights of GPs to social prescribing, including free access to exercise programmes if they judge it will help a person’s health and well-being.”

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