Come the apocalypse, thin people will have a fat chance of survival

Journal columnist and performance poet Kate Fox seizes on new research showing curvy people have better life expectancies than skinny minnies

Chris Radburn/PA Wire A young girl using a set of weighing scales as one in five children born in the UK at the beginning of the new century was obese by the age of 11
A person using a set of weighing scales

The North East is the fattest region in the country, with a whopping 68% of us being overweight.

Cue wagging fingers and news footage of people with wobbly bottoms with voiceovers telling us all we’re going to die of chips soon.

So there’s been good news this week in the form of a study by GP Malcolm Kendrick. He has looked at lots of research into weight and concluded that for many people classed as overweight, with a BMI of between 25-30, and perhaps even higher, their life expectancy is longer than that of their more svelte friends.

As a slightly fat, size 16-18 person I consider this good news.

I think I’m going to gloat about it to any thin people who say that they’re only mainlining chia seeds and kale “so I’ll live longer”.

Despite the prevalence of us overweight people (who, if we set our minds to it could easily squash the views of the normal weight - by sitting on them), it can still be hard to accept your own body in the face of media images of what a perfect body “should” look like.

The best I can currently manage is accepting my lack of acceptance of my lack of acceptance of my body.

This study reminds me that being overweight may be demonised for no reason.

Perhaps aiming for fifty stone and arteries that are more chip than artery is not the way forward, but it makes sense to me that people with a bit of extra padding are able to withstand more of life’s vicissitudes.

Come the apocalypse, we may not be best at outrunning zombies, but it’ll take us longer to starve to death once the tinned pilchards run out. When the diseases of old age kicks in, those of us with weight to spare will probably last longer than our thinner cousins because we have more energy stored.

I think it’s time for a new saying to celebrate the joys of digesting now and saving for later - perhaps: “Look after the Rennies and the pounds will look after themselves”.

Interesting times in the election where it feels like it’s all to play for.

It looks like it’s going to be too close to call and the smaller parties will hold the key to power.

I predict that the less predictable it is, the dafter the prediction methods will become as pundits line up to try divine the future with as much accuracy as Mystic Meg or Paul the Psychic Octopus.

Which parties will team up together to make a government? I think we could do worse than use the theory of nominative determinism - whereby names impact on what people choose to do in their lives because we’re drawn to names like our own.

This was coined by scientific journalist John Hoyland when he noticed an academic paper on incontinence by people with the surnames Splatt and Weedon, in the same week as he noticed a piece on Snowmen by someone with the surname Arctic.

Academic researchers then found that people called Dennis and Denise were more likely to become dentists. Look - it works with the SNP where Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon obviously knew that people with fishy surnames could work together. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any further examples among current candidates. Colin Powell and Darius Guppy are not standing. George O-spawn would be a pun too far. She would have the U-Kippers for breakfast so I can’t see an alliance there.

We can certainly say however, judging from the fallout from her national leaders debate victory, that she will experience some floundering and quite a lot of carping.


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