Fastest diet * fastest way to lose weight * living a healthier lifestyle * why we were slimmer in the fifties * dieting whilst pregnant * obesity in children

Growing up in the fifties I can clearly remember my mother walking me to school every morning. To a four year old child, it seemed like a long way but it was certainly no more than a thousand metres. The walk there wasn't too bad as most of it was downhill but coming home required stamina and strong leg muscles to tackle the sharp inclines that made up the route.

I can still see my mother pushing my little brother in his pushchair, her long platinum blond hair (she'll kill me if I don't mention this was natural) bouncing around her shoulders; her bright dresses swishing around her slender carves and ankles; the click of her high heels on the pavement and her calling to me to wait at every junction.

She struck a striking figure and turned many a head in those days. It never occurred to me then but she would make the same trip to collect me from school every afternoon, meaning she walked at least four kilometres everyday, not counting the daily trips she had to make to the shops.

The school gates were the collection point for all the mothers to meet and exchange gossip before hurrying home to prepare lunch or do their housework. All the mothers would be there, beautifully turned out, hair brushed, makeup applied, nails varnished and handbags on their arms. They were women who would have looked at home on any catwalk and wouldn't have been seen dead outside their homes without full makeup.

Apart from mothers who were obviously pregnant, I don't remember any women being the slightest bit overweight let alone obese. In fact, I don't remember any fat children being in my school, we didn't appear to do fat in those days. It wasn't that everyone was health conscious, we didn't know about diets and health styles, we just ate what was available, walked everywhere and us kids ran around a lot.

Obesity in children

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