5* Leading Authorities Talk Obesity and Solutions

The 5x15 speakers.

Taking questions from the audience

5*: Professor Phillip James, George Monbiot, Dr. Michael Mosley, A.A. Gill and Jamie Oliver.

The London-based seminar series 5 x 15 (five speakers speaking for 15 minutes) recently hosted The 5×15 Food Fight and I was lucky enough to get a ticket to this sold-out event at the Royal Geographical Society.

Just as the country is waiting to read the overdue UK Government Paper on tackling obesity, so we waited to hear these five ‘stars’ impart their views on everything to do with obesity,Type II diabetes, food production, sugar and the importance, nay, the necessity of having a TABLE to eat on. According to A.A. Gill, this is crucial to – if not world peace – than world svelteness.

I diligently scribbled away on my notepad on behalf of the many who were unable to get a ticket, or who live on another continent. Hopefully you will find my notes of interest!

(The bold print are statements I found quite striking – feel free to disagree.)

The 5×15 Food Fight was chaired by Rosie Boycott, feminist, foodie, ex-editor, Food Adviser to the Mayor of London and a co-founder of the 5 x 15 series.**

In her introduction Boycott queried and criticized the continuing delay of the Government Paper, which will outline its strategy to tackle obesity. Where, she asked, was the sense of urgency as children are ‘being subjected to a lifetime of ill-health’?

First up to tell us about the ‘size of the problem’ was Professor Phillip James, currently President of the International Association for …continue reading 5* Leading Authorities Talk Obesity & Solutions.

“Big Brother” by Lionel Shriver

The author of “We need to talk about Kevin“, whose own brother died from obesity-related causes,tells here the fictional story of just what happens when Pandora’s big brother, Edison,visits after a few years absence – with a weight gain of 200lbs+.

Big Brother creates discomfort as it challenges assumptions on how you might deal with a suddenly very,very Big brother.

…continue reading “Big Brother” by Lionel Shriver

Shame. Having fat friends makes you greedy.


The word Shame is mine, the ‘Having fat friends makes you greedy” was the Daily Express’s ‘catchy’ little headline.


“Sitting next to overweight people makes you more likely to gorge on unhealthy food.” – Daily Express.

A small scale study, published in the peer reviewed science journal Appetite looked at how a group of 82 college students were influenced by the presence of a fat-suited actress near them at the buffet (as in this photo from the film”Shallow Hal”.)

The results suggest that we eat more, and not necessarily more healthily, when we observe a fat person.

“Professor Mitsuru Shimizu of Southern Illinois University in the US said the findings showed the ‘larger your friends, the larger your appetite’ because the body type of a dining partner, or those nearby, influence choice.”


  1. There were only two food choices: salad or pasta – and when did pasta become ‘bad’ if you eat a bit more of it?
  2. Who is going to ‘gorge’ on salad?
  3. Was it raining? Cold? I know what I and most people would eat, especially in this English climate…..
  4. Only young college students participated in this study. Results could have been very different, again, with older adults, children and other cultures.
  5. Any vegetarians? They wouldn’t eat meat sauce…

In addition, the research team claim that more pasta was eaten by the study participants “because the health commitment goal was less activated”. In Plain English, we don’t care quite as much when we are with fat people, the implication …continue reading Shame. Having fat friends makes you greedy.

“Your Weight Matters” National Convention 2014

Boasting a logo that called on us to S.H.I.N.E., YWM2014 was hosted and developed by the Obesity Action Coalition, “a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping the millions of Americans impacted by excess weight and obesity through education, advocacy and support”.

Held over three days in September, this 3rd Annual National Convention was sponsored by an assortment of companies I hadn’t come across before, with an emphasis on bariatric and other interventions.

Delegates represented a wide range of views on weight related issues. Many commented positively on the weight management advice, health information and support from like-minded people (always so important) provided by the Convention.

Educational offerings in the form of talks, advocacy training sessions, interactive workshops and activities were comprehensive. I was particularly pleased to see weight stigma and patient advocacy highlighted.

Remember – there is a place for those who want to lose weight, a place for those who are happy to be fit at their chosen weight, as well as a place for those who say that it’s none of your business what they weigh.

YWM2014 fits into this spectrum quite comfortably.

I appreciated the two featured live speakers who were streamed, and was able to listen to an interesting talk on ‘Mindfulness’ despite the 5 hour time lag.

You can get a feel for the conference by reading tweeted comments using the hashtag #YWM2014. Contributors included : @ParentingSpot, @YWMOAC, @WLSCouncelor, @ObesityAction, @UKHealthyeating @Dr.JohnYadegar, @ASMBS, @Born2bFat, @drsharma, @conscienhealth, @YoniFreedhoff and yours truly, @weightdebate.

However, I do believe the organizers missed out by not featuring at least one ‘tweetchat’.

Yes, I know you could tweet as part of their Advocacy …continue reading “Your Weight Matters” National Convention 2014