Fat is an English issue;The week in view

4th June 1999 at 01:00
SPORTING triumphs or disasters - depending on whether you're a cricket or a football fan; the Big Read scheme starts at an Asda store near you as a contribution to National Year of Reading and it's National Childcare Week.

England's early exit from the Cricket World Cup coincided with the release of the official anthem and its immediate demise. Record shops reported that the song, All Over the World, had no takers. Meanwhile, they were painting the town red in Manchester to celebrate United clinching the treble.

There's also news of posh people, grey people and fat people. Apparently the upper echelons of Blair's egalitarian new world have a renewed sense of self-confidence as they have become "Yahs" - young, aristocratic and headed for showbiz.

Eton, the top public school, came in for unwelcome attention when the head declared a weapons amnesty for boys after a pupil was allegedly caught with an air pistol. Detectives guarding princes William and Harry were relieved as youngsters wielding guns could be mistaken for assassins and shot.

Bill Gates, the Microsoft billionaire, is publishing a "world English" dictionary containing a lexicon for 375 million English speakers compiled by 250 experts in 10 countries. Anne Soukhanov, the general editor, said it would give separate definitions for words that have different regional meanings.

Handy if you want to look up "wrinklies". Apparently we are becoming a greying, obese nation. Statisticians forecast that, for the first time, there will be more pensioners than children in 2008, raising fears of a poverty-stricken old age for many.

But some might not make 65, as a British Nutrition Foundation taskforce reckons that one in five of us is too fat and obesity is as big a threat to health as smoking. Men with waists of more than 40 inches and women whose girth exceeds 35 inches are deemed obese. Pass the tape measure.

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