As a proud and patriotic Aussie who lives in what has become a fairly cosmopolitan nation at the bottom end of the world, I kind of scratch my head in wonder at times when I see that we're having the same problems as our so-called "culturally more advanced cousins" in the USA and GB.  I mean, with the obesity epidemic still gaining momentum in westernized, developed nations, and with a personal wake-up call being received so recently (check out earlier blog posts), is it really such a mystery why we're all so fat?

Obviously it is because Tefal (manufacturers of brilliant cookware even if I don't have any [Xmas is coming guys] and sponsors of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver {apparently no relation} who has a crusade going in several countries against obesity) conducted a survey of 2500 people here in the bright red land of Oz and released some of the results in yesterday's Melbourne Sunday Herald-Sun newspaper (sorry guys, while you're reading this on Sunday, I've finished typing on Monday so you're getting to see a day into the future).  The article was titled, Vegie-wise we're a bit green and authored by reporter Jane Howard.

Anyway, the results of this study were shocking simply because they confirm exactly what the real problem is.  Here goes because as someone who is shedding weight these results appalled me, not because I'm not as fat as I used to be but because this knowledge should be pretty basic in day to day life.

This poll discovered that 67% of Australian adults had no idea what a turnip was.  In fact they incorrectly identified the good ole turnip as sweet potato, an onion or a parsnip.  Where the survey seemed to criticize the respondents for mislabelling it a swede, I can understand that one as turnips and swedes are not only closely related but also look very much alike, but even so, they are a slightly different colour so that ought to be enough of a clue.

It gets worse for my compatriots with 40% being absolutely clueless about leeks.  It was misidentified as a spring onion/scallion, a shallot or, wait for it, celery.

Now we get to the horror of horrors.  We all know Halloween is in two whole weeks.  And the most visible symbol of Halloween is the ubiquitous pumpkin.  What I would have previously thought to be a misidentification of impossible proportions, some respondents said it was an onion, while others labelled it a cumquat.  Half a point goes to the respondents who identified it as a squash for at least getting it in the right family of vegetables.

Then there was the 10% who couldn't even name a zucchini (and no, it's not a type of swimwear) followed by the 6% who got confused between zucchinis and cucumbers.  Well, at least they look alike I suppose.

Now for the most horrific statistic in this poll because it clearly identifies what the exact cause of the obesity tsunami we're riding is.  Out of the 2500 surveyd, 975 people, that's a massive 39% said that eating veges was NOT "convenient as part of a busy lifestyle."  Did you get that?  Not convenient.  In other words, people are lazy.

But it takes time to prepare vegetables I can hear someone saying.  No it doesn't.  They're actually very convenient.  You can buy sachets of snap-lock frozen vegetables (which means they're hight nutritious because they've had all their nutrients frozen in within an hour or two of harvest) in any supermarket and toss them into the microwave, in the packet, for a couple of minutes to steam.  What's your next excuse because they're not that expensive either.

The problem is that we've just gotten too lazy to get up off our butts to do something.  Either too lazy or too selfish.  We're dealing with the legacy of the "me first" generation of the 1980s.  In other words, if there's nothing in for me, I'm not moving.

Let me assure you that there is something in it for you.  There's health, which means that as you get older you're going to be less expensive for the rest of society to look after.  Not enough motivation?  That's okay.  What about having more money in your own pocket?  How's that?  You're not forking out enormous quantities of the green stuff on your escalating medical bills, and your health insurance gets cheaper too.

We're seeing the first generation in the developed world that is not going to outlive their parents.  That's right.  We are going to lose a whole generation of children who are going to die before their parents of diseases that are entirely preventable.  If you're not convinced about that, you've only got to go to any medical database in the developed world and you'll find cases of 6-10 year olds developing Type 2 diabetes (not Type 1 diabetes which is most commonly associated with childhood develpment but Type 2 diabetes which is an adult lifestyle disease).  You will find cases of 10-12 years olds being diagnosed with hypertension.  You know, high blood pressure.  Again an adult lifestyle disease.  Then you'll discover 17 year olds with atheroschlerosis.  Plaque in the arteries.

Do I really need to go on?  And if you're one of our northern neighbours and thinking "Wow, the Aussies have really screwed this one up," stop thinking that right now.  I say that simply because it's just another trend we follow that's set by our norhern cousins, like New York Fashion Week.

But it's time to stop looking to our governments to put a stop to this.  That's because governments are actually crap at taking real leadership on any issue.  Plus, government departments who use "science" to back up dietary advice are normally using junk science.  So what I'm saying as that we need to do something on the individual level.  Not even the community level, the individual level.  We each need to take personal responsibility for our food, health and nutritional education.

We can not only halt this epidemic in its tracks, we can reverse it.  If we open our eyes, and our minds
10/16/2011 15:15:15

Great article Mr. Oliver. I am, as you stated, one of your cousins to the north. We definitely have a problem with obesity here in the US. And I agree with yo 1oo% that it is up to us as individuals to first educate ourselves & feed ourselves healthy, nutritious foods, then to help & educate others. I changed my eating style about a year ago- no to little fast foods, processed foods, sodas. I eat more organic & fresh foods. As a result, I lost weight, can breathe better, and all around feel better. Our govt allows so much junk & chemicals to be added to our food that it is poisoning us. It is up to us, Mr. Oliver like you said to take care of us! Thank you for the post, I have shared it with others.
Jodene
Ventura, Ca. USA

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    G'day everyone.  I'm an Aussie Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotist (www.americanallianceofhypnotists.org)  and author with a passion for making every relationship in our lives the best it can be.   I work at local, state, national and international levels.  I am also a Callahan Techniques Thought Field Therapy practitioner trained by Eugene Piccinotti TFT - dx, and I studied Neuro Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner Level (MNLP) under Steve G Jones at the American University of Neuro-Linguistic Programming
    (http://www.aunlp.org).  In other words, as a coach, I'll use whatever I have to use to help you to make the changes you want to make.