Just last week my home town of Hull (Kingston upon Hull if we're being posh) was in the news for having some of the highest obesity rates in the country. This doesn't surprise me as our poor city traditionally seems to get more than its fair share of bad press despite us trying to shake this off through lot of recent redevelopment & investment.
Like all cities there are the wealthier areas in the suburbs, and pockets of middle-class mixed with working-class of which I live in (without meaning to pigeon-hole people). Being a passionate health advocate, when I'm out & about I tend to notice things like a young lady the other day - walking passed the local shops, 8-pack of lager under one arm & battered jumbo sausage on fork in the other. Of course this may not have been a true reflection of her lifestyle but as she was rather overweight, it probably wasn't far off. I don't mean to be snobbish or have a pop at obese people as it's their choice, but I just want to help create a healthier Hull.
The stereotype is that the higher rates of obesity are often in the poorer areas of society, & in my experience I'd say this is true for Hull, BUT WHY? is it because...
- Money is tight so it is spent on the cheaper highly processed foods?
- A poorer background may instill lower aspirations, lower motivation levels?
- This in turn goes hand in hand with lack of understanding / awareness food & drink.
- A depressing / drab physical environment as streets & housing are often in need of maintenance.
All these factors contribute to one key element - an underlying lack of self worth / confidence. So what are we doing to turn this around? Well supermarkets have recently started highlighting special offers on fruit, veg & fresh meat, Schools are now doing a great job of promoting the wide range of career opportunities & healthy lifestyle education, the government is advertising it's healthy eating campaign, & the local council is progressively updating street life.
So with a bigger push, it looks like Hull's bad reputation may be short-lived!