Chavez warns people against obesity
Published 28/03/2011 | 04:42
President Hugo Chavez urged Venezuelans to cut their calories to avoid obesity - the latest lifestyle recommendation by the self-proclaimed socialist crusader.
Mr Chavez has lobbied in recent weeks against what he calls the evils of capitalism, including alcoholism, breast implants and violent television programmes.
"Be careful with weight gain!" warned Mr Chavez, speaking during his weekly television and radio programme.
"We are eating better, that's been proven. We're leaving malnutrition behind. It no longer exists in the country, but be careful with obesity."
Mr Chavez - who often dispenses advice to supporters during his marathon speeches - said he would start a campaign to urge Venezuelans to consume less fatty foods and eat in a healthier fashion.
The former paratroop commander has taken issue with doctors who "convince women, many women - not all of them - that if they don't have big bosoms, they should feel bad".
Breast enlargement is widely popular in image-conscious Venezuela, where newspapers publish advertisements from clinics offering breast implants on credit and beauty pageant contestants often undergo plastic surgery.
In recent years as many as 30,000 women have had the operation annually, according to the nation's Plastic Surgery Society.
Mr Chavez frequently rails against capitalism. Since taking office in 1999, he has preached against supposed capitalist-fuelled vices ranging from alcohol to cholesterol, vowed to curb whisky imports and ordered beer trucks off the street.
Some Venezuelans were amused when one of Mr Chavez's recent commentaries took an interstellar turn last week, when he raised the question of whether capitalism had destroyed life on the planet of Mars.