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Me and my diet: interview with Gillian McKeith
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Diet and nutrition in the UK and the US, and the childhood obesity debate

"Generations of people don’t know where their kitchen is" - Diet and nutrition in the UK and the US, and the childhood obesity debate
"Generations of people don’t know where their kitchen is"

Gillian is based in the UK these days, but she does cross the pond a fair bit (her husband Howard, with whom she has two children, is from the US). What are the differences she’s seen between attitudes to healthy eating in America and Blighty? 

“In America I’ve lived all over the place and depending where you live there can be a different attitude. The most health conscious tended to be on the East Coast, and parts of California, and Colorado has a lot of health conscious people too. If you’re sitting in the middle of Beverly Hills then there’s more awareness about healthy food, and then certain states are just dinosaurs. It really depends on where you are." 

"You know, Michelle McManus went to somewhere like Tennessee one time and she called me and said 'I’m the slimmest woman in Tennessee! I’m gonna move here because I'm thinner than everyone!' I do think in the UK there’s definitely more awareness."

When the topic of conversation turns to childhood obesity and how it should be addressed, Gillian's attitude is pretty old-fashioned: "We’ve got to bring physical education back into schools. You can survive life without knowing trigonometry, but you cannot survive life with a body that doesn’t work! There’s got to be an overhaul of the education system."  

Have childhood obesity levels here reached crisis point? "No, we’re not there yet. It’s getting worse. It’s a combination of children who’ve been born to generations of people who don’t know where their kitchen is, who’ve lived on takeaways. There was a time when there really weren’t all these kinds of additives and processed elements in food. Now we’ve got so many things that are full of junk and additives and E-numbers and chemicals and things you can’t even pronounce, that have completely laced their way into the food chain. If you couple that with the computerization of the world, it’s a recipe for disaster."


Sarah Horrocks
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