The University of Canberra’s Professor Rachel Davey’s got the obesity problem sorted:
During the second world war (1939–1945), the British government introduced food rationing with a point system in every household. Everyone was allocated a number of points a month and certain food items, such as meat, fish, biscuits, sugar, fats, and tea, were rationed.
Every adult was given a total of 16 points a month and could choose how to spend these points. Special supplements were available for young children, pregnant women, and people with certain diseases. Wartime food shortages and government directives forced people to adopt different eating patterns. They ate considerably less meat, eggs, and sugar than they do today.
Rationing was enforced in Britain for 14 years, and continued after the war had ended. Meat was finally derationed in June 1954. Petrol was also rationed, so people stopped buying and using cars, and public transport was limited. There was no “obesity epidemic” as food supply and travel was limited, meaning people ate less and did more physical exercise (walking).
Interestingly, during the years when rationing was enforced, the prevalence of obesity was negligible in the United Kingdom. And waste was minimised as both individuals and government agencies were busy finding new ways of reducing the waste of food resources to a minimum (sustainable consumption).
Is it conceivable that some form of food rationing and portion control may help address the dramatic rise in obesity and the sustainability of our foods supply?
Well, er, I suppose so, Professor Davey. After all, short of Kim Jong-Un, you never see a fat North Korean, do you?
Professor Davey, despite holding a Ph.D., seems unable to tell the difference between correlation and causation: Britons weren’t terribly fat before or after rationing either, as the source of this piece points out. One might as well propose rationing to increase the quality of Australian novelists; after all, Kingsley Amis wrote Lucky Jim during rationing, so if it worked for the Brits, why not us?
Deliciously, she also runs something called the Centre for Research & Action in Public Health … but it is probably better remembered by its shortened name, CRAP Health.