Opinion: Battle against the bulge will have to begin in our classrooms
What would happen if there was a monster stalking the land, killing, by a wide range of means, a large and growing cohort of the population? Wouldn't you expect a mass mobilisation of state services to tackle the monster? Well, that monster is already on the rampage. It's called Obesity.
Obesity in Ireland has doubled in the past 30 years, to a current, rapidly rising, figure of 23pc of the population.
This chilling fact was highlighted by one of the country's foremost obesity experts, Professor Donal O'Shea, in a recent talk to parents at Kilkenny College.
He said two other really scary things.
One is that they (doctors) no longer talk about the diseases that obesity causes, "because it causes every disease and makes every disease worse".
From his tone, it was obvious that this was not the first time he has said this.
He pointed out that there is no point in telling someone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 50 to eat less and walk more because their energy system is basically blown. (His explanation was rather more technical). So next time you see an overweight person, "don't give out, empathise", he said.
I agree that demonising the person is not helpful. However, we all need to be clearly informed about the probable outcomes of our lifestyle choices. No different to cigarettes, mega-calorie foods and drinks should carry a warning that, "Obesity Kills".