Obesity - it costs the nation £2.5
billion a year to treat, it is set to overtake lung cancer as the
biggest preventable killer and over one in five suffer from the condition.
As the government prepare
to launch a 40 million pound healthy eating campaign, Inside Out investigates
how we can take responsibility for our own health by going back to school
- food school that is.
Rik Waller is the big man, with the even bigger voice
and at the age of 21, Rik weighs around 30 stone.
Diagnosed as morbidly obese, Rik knows all too well how
being overweight can effect your health.
After leaving ITV’s Pop Idol through illness, Rik struggled
on the weight loss reality TV show, Celebrity Fit Club. Although
he initially lost weight, his resolve faltered and Rik was controversially
thrown off the show.
Over 30,000 deaths a year are caused by obesity
People are classed as obese if they have a body
mass index over 30
Adult obesity rates have tripled since 1982
19% of Britons are obese and 39% are overweight
The number of obese children has doubled since
10% of six year olds are obese
Obesity can lead to health problems, including
arthritis, heart disease and diabetes
Rik may be a high profile example of obesity, but it effects
a large number of the population.
In 2002, 17% of men and 20% of women were diagnosed as
clinically obese and that is not taking into account the number who are
classed as overweight.
Along with the prejudices many overweight people face
in a society obsessed with self image, comes the far more serious health
People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from
diabetes, heart disease and arthritis and life expectancy is shortened
by up to three times that of a leaner counterpart.
With such a stark wake-up call, Rik is eager to try a
new approach to eating, minus the torture of Celebrity Fit Club and Inside
Out knows just the place.
Cutting Edge Food and Wine School
The sleepy countryside of Robertsbridge is home to Cutting
Edge, the South East’s only major food and wine school.
Founder, Ruth Sands Edwards, employs six top chefs from
London and is confident that they can help Rik to rustle up a sumptuous
but healthy meal to get his new eating regime off to a great start.
|Fresh local ingredients
taste so much better than processed alternatives|
"Eating well needn’t be boring. You can enjoy eating healthily
and you will be eating yourself thinner," says Ruth.
The course is designed to re-educate peoples’ approach
to healthy eating, using fresh, local ingredients wherever possible.
Tom Kime, Jamie Oliver’s former boss, stresses that variety
is the key.
"When you’re trying to set up a programme of healthy
eating, it is important there’s no repetition. You don’t want the same
thing over and over again because then you’ll get bored with it and break
the programme," says Tom.
Rik prepares to cook up a storm in the kitchen bearing
in mind three important lessons:
1. Where possible use local, unprocessed produce.
"Local food to me is traceable," says Toby Peters, a
local produce seller in Battle. "You can see the farm… you can see that
the product is natural, not processed. You get the raw ingredient from
the farm five miles away."
smelling the food is half the pleasure of cooking|
2. Prepare and cook your own food. Feeling and smelling
the food extends the pleasure of the meal which in turn helps you eat
3. Everything in moderation - even the odd glass or wine.
"Wine can be good for you," assures Henri Chappon and
as Britain’s number one sommelier, he should know! "There are lots of
components in wine… vitamins, acids… too much is dangerous, a good level
seems to have been set at 2-3 glasses per day."
Here's one I made earlier...
So with this in mind, Rik sets about preparing a main
course of sea bass with tomatoes, caper berries & olives and a desert
of mango, papaya & watermelon salad with mint & ginger.
The result? Delicious. And if you want to try it for
yourself, Inside Out has turned cookery guru - with a little help from
With obesity on the increase and a large percentage of
the nation overweight, there is no better time to make a change for the
The message is clear. Fresh healthy ingredients and good
old fashioned home cooking will not only improve our waistlines, but our
health as well.
"There are so few things we control in our lives these
days," says Christine, the chief dietician at Pembury Hospital. "Being
able to have an influence on your own health is so much more beneficial
to human beings than to leave their health in somebody else’s hands."