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Obesity - an Olympic diet

Obesity in the UK continues to rise. Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre for 2011 show there has been a marked rise in obesity rates over the past eight years, coinciding with the bid and lead up to London 2012. The HSCIC also raises the alarm about children’s body image, particularly among girls, with hospital admissions up 16% in the last year of the survey.

The Olympics is supposed to provide us with a legacy of improving the nation's health. So will the Games have made any difference? If Sydney is anything to go by, no. The Sydney Olympics made no impact in Australia on childhood obesity, the country is now said to be suffering an obesity epidemic, along with the UK.

As is obvious the whole point about the Olympics is it is an elite tv sports event which people sit and watch from their sofa while munching on their usual diet of Olympic advertised burgers and fizzy drinks (no advertising on this site!).

However, the case is more complicated, as it seems even when sport participation does rise this has little impact on obesity. University of Sydney obesity, nutrition and exercise expert Associate Professor Timothy Gill pointed out: "It is interesting that the increase in obesity throughout Australia has actually been paralleled by an increase in participation in child sport, so it would seem that sport is not the key to battling obesity, but diet and lifestyle."

‘Diet and lifestyle’, funny he should mention that! A diet of fizzy drinks and burgers (no advertising on this site) is, of course, as referred to above, the nutrition promoted by the Olympics and its sponsoring ‘partners’, at great public expense, along with (often bogus) claims of the popularity of watching elite sport on tv – exactly the kind of mind and body sapping ‘activity’ all these Olympic backers claim they oppose.

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