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The English are fat and want to live in France


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This week our government published a report on how healthy we English are. There was some good news. The number of people who smoke has continued to fall. We live longer than any previous generation. Deaths of young children (infant mortality) are the lowest ever. The number of teenage girls who get pregnant has fallen, though it is still high compared to many other European countries.
But there was bad news too. We English are fat and are getting fatter. About two-thirds of men are overweight, and about 60% of women. We are fatter than any other nation in Europe.
Why? Many English people eat food with lots of fat and sugar. We love chips, burgers and doughnuts, potato crisps and chocolate. We drink too much alcohol. We don’t eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables. We watch football on TV, but we don’t take any exercise ourselves. But in the last year we have become more aware that our national diet is not good and that things need to change. Jamie Oliver is a well-known chef with his own TV programme. Last year he showed us how bad the food is that we serve to our children in schools. Many people were shocked and angry. So the government has banned vending machines selling crisps and sweets from schools. Many schools have tried to make their school dinners healthier. Of course, some people don’t like the government telling them what to eat. There have been stories in the papers about parents handing their children bags of chips through the school gates at lunch time
And how does France come into this? Well, a survey was also published this week which suggested that about a third of British people would like live in France, while only about a quarter think that Britain is the best place to live. You have to take this survey with a pinch of salt, because it was published by an organisation which promotes French wines. But France is undoubtedly very popular with many English people.
Why do we like France so much? Perhaps it is the food, or the wine, or springtime in Paris. And perhaps we like French footballers like Thierry Henry, and French film stars. And this is strange, because the French themselves often have a pessimistic view of their country and its problems. But we English don’t care about that. We are fat, perhaps the fattest people in Europe. And we want to move to France to eat more food, drink more wine, sit in the sunshine and get even fatter.
Picture of healthy, low-calorie English breakfast (!) by Jon Choo/flickr

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