Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Britain is the ‘Fat Capital’ of Europe

Read More:
Matt Rahman
Matt Rahman

Britain is the ‘fat capital’ of Europe, according to researchers from the University of Madrid’s School of Medicine. Huzzah! We’re leading Europe in yet another category, along with teenage pregnancies and knife crime.

More Britain’s are now dying due to being overweight than anywhere else in Europe. Around one in every 11 deaths is being linked to us carrying excess blubber. One daily newspaper’s “experts” have warned that the number of obesity-related deaths may soon overtake those caused by smoking.

Now I’ve been known to enjoy a pensive cigarette or two and because of anti-smoking laws have been forced, during a fag-break, to stand outside in a hidden-away part of the workplace for fear of being spotted by others as I enjoy my deadly habit; does this now mean I will soon be joined for hoards of fatties, cramming cakes into their mouths during a ‘fat-break’? If so, we’re going to need planning permission to expand (geddit?) the smoking area to cater (geddit?) for the influx of people who now have a deadlier habit than I.

This obesity time bomb has currently hit the headlines in the UK again following news that one of the country’s favourite retailers, Marks & Spencer has launched school-wear for obese kids…and it’s sold out! This was apparently following pleas from parents for school-wear that their little ones could squeeze into.
Good old M&S, just as famous for their ever so slightly erotic food adverts, has started selling school uniforms for overweight children as young as three years old. The new range is called Plus Fit and is aimed at boys and girls aged up to 16. At present the Plus Fit lines can only be purchased on their website and is a small trial to assess the demand for large sized children's clothes. Let me tell you, M&S, having just come back from a stroll through town (to the pie-shop), you’re onto a winner. The kids are currently on summer holidays in the UK and there are plenty of tubby youngsters waddling around with their parents at the moment.

So here are some facts about the Plus Fit range:
• Boys' trousers in the range aimed at three year-olds have a 23-inch waistline, a size usually worn by eight-year olds, according to the retailer's own standard sizes
• The largest trouser size available has a 41 inch waistline
• Girls' trousers for three-year-olds have 23-inch waistlines and measure 28-inches at the hip
• The largest sizes of girls' clothing for sixteen year-olds have 36-inch waistlines, the equivalent of a woman's size 18.

Blimey! Also, I love the name their marketing department has come up with, Plus Fit, it sounds kind of sporty, without giving away the fact that you are hideously overweight.  

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said in one newspaper: "The fact that M&S has launched this range indicates the severity of the obesity problem. It should be a wake-up call to parents, but also to society and the Government."

It was normally assumed that obesity was a disease of the lower classes, but the fact that one of the most popular clothing stores in the UK is stocking (and selling out of) the larger-sized range shows how widespread the problem is. I am pretty sure that other retail chains will want a slice of the pie, having seen the soaring sales enjoyed by M&S.

Several commentators have claimed that the fact that M&S has launched this range indicates the severity of the obesity problem. Great, only now do we start to pay attention to a problem that’s been building for decades because its crossed class boundaries and the country’s middle-classes now have just realised that ‘little’ Oscar and Hermione are, in fact, f***king colossal and can barely fit the back of the 4x4 they’ve been chauffeured to and from school in for the past ten years, rather than walk or bike it. Couple this with the fact that the parents don’t know how to cook real food, as they came from a generation who have not been taught domestic sciences at school; all in all, a recipe for disaster.

Some scorn is being heaped upon M&S, but it's not up to the nation’s favourite store to tackle the obesity problem. They are just reacting to market conditions. Besides, they do run a healthy range of food-stuffs, aimed at children - you can find them in the extra wide aisles.

Governments have tried and failed to address the problem and conveniently let their 2010 targets for obesity slide now to 2020. And, following recent public sector spending cuts, fears are that posts that were planned to help address these issues will be left vacant.

So this now this is a golden opportunity for the ConDem’s Big Society to act before we all really are a very big society.

To see where your favourite country comes in the Euro Fat League Tables, see

All articles and comments on have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.