Unhappy meals

Illustrator Adam McDade’s map offers food for thought on the causes of obesity


More than two-thirds of the population of the north east are classed as overweight or obese, according to House of Commons statistics – that’s the highest rate in the UK.

At the same time, here is an abundance of evidence demonstrating that challenging socio-economic and environmental factors contribute to poor physical and mental health. Much like drug or alcohol abuse, addictive overeating is often an attempt to distract from suffering and dissatisfaction. A person’s routine and habits may be linked to their sense of identity, and an unhealthy way of life may simply be the product of living in a particular geographical location.

As any amateur gardener knows, crops planted in infertile soil struggle to flourish. In the same way, is it surprising that workers in low-wage, long-hours and physically demanding jobs will make unhealthy lifestyle choices if they’re surrounded by affordable but nutritionally deficient food outlets?

Yet while environment may shape culture, it is important to remember that it does not dictate it.


Read more in The Northern Correspondent #9