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Of fats and figures

Is it a sin to be fat? While most will say a resounding no (in these interesting times that we live in, one needs to be politically correct), there seems to a sinister plot going around the world to tell fat people they are fat and need to shape up, but in a nice way.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2011 11:17 IST

Is it a sin to be fat? While most will say a resounding no (in these interesting times that we live in, one needs to be politically correct), there seems to a sinister plot going around the world to tell fat people they are fat and need to shape up, but in a nice, roundabout way.

So while the technique earlier was to say that fat people (doesn’t it sound gross?) must exercise to shed some of their flab or eat non-fatty foods and more leafy stuff, nowadays it’s done much more discreetly. But the message is the same: if you are fat, you will have to pay extra — and also be the butt of all kinds of medical experiments and theories.

Just as the festive (gorging) season is commencing, an Australian surgeon has been the first off the block: he has criticised the British government’s focus on promoting exercise as a key to tackling obesity. The surgeon says that instead of exercising, fat people must eat less (now, tell us, is that easy?). Plus, who doesn’t know the benefits of doing a couple of kilometres on the treadmill? And the Australian surgeon is not the only one telling fat people to shape up. Recently, the Danish government imposed a fat/sin tax on some food choices made by Danes, one of the world’s healthiest people.

From October 1, they targeted saturated fats from animals, such as butter, cream and meat. So that is the end of the tasty smorgasbord. Earlier, the Danish government had placed a high tariff on sugar and seven years ago, the country became the first nation to ban trans fats, which are commonly used in snacks and processed foods. There have been less discreet ways also: In 2009, an airline in the United States announced that they would tax overweight passengers.

However, in India, we are tolerant towards almost anything. Ahead of the festive season, the government even keeps a
strict watch on sugar and milk prices. Now isn’t that something to celebrate? So what about some extra gulab jamuns after dinner tonight?