One might think that a nation like Ireland could have nothing possibly in common with a country like Qatar, after all, Qatar continues each year to be ranked the richest country in the world owing to massive natural oil and gas resources meanwhile Ireland has not featured on the scale since we were reported to the be the richest non-oil country in the world back in 2007, when someone obviously found the missing page of the ledger by 2008 and we plummeted back to where we are today – below average in Europe, still no oil or gas.
Qatar is able to spend billions on the infrastructure to support the World Cup 2022; Ireland can’t open a decent road without charging a hefty toll to counterbalance some of the cost.
Qataris are tea totallers which must have the benefit of clarity of mind and physical wellbeing, this alone must stand to them as a nation, meanwhile back in Ireland thousands are drowning their sorrows in bottles of plonk, afraid to sober up lest they meet with reality.
However there is one thing we have in common, one thing that is prevalent in both Ireland and Qatar, obesity. That’s right, Qatar is not only the richest country in the world it is also now, the fattest. Like always, Ireland are playing catch up, but this is a race in which we’re on course to win because we are soon set to hold the title of being the most obese country in Europe, give us another few years after that and we’ll be aiming for the world title!.
What’s happening in Ireland, how have a nation of presumably fairly lithe people back in the early 1900’s become so overweight and thereafter obese in just a couple of generations? Is our fairly recent politically correct approach to cheer on excess weight, clapping those carrying the extra kilos on the back and wishing them every support in their expression of themselves, despite the impending diabetes and heart disease problems to blame? Only thirty years ago in Ireland, fast food didn’t have the hold that it has today and weren’t we better for it. However as the menu grew so too did our appetites for fast food, fast convenient and relatively cheap, replacing the goodness of meat and two veg with a double quarter pounder meal with a side order of deep fried mozzarella sticks. One in ten people in Ireland are living in food poverty, which is defined as the inability to have an adequate and nutritious diet due to issues of affordability. Research shows socially-disadvantaged households consume less nutritionally-balanced diets and suffer from higher rates of diet-related chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and certain cancers at a younger age.
What happened in Qatar, how did a nation that lived a tribal existence only two generations ago, become a nation where 1 in every 2 people is obese. Is it the fact that it’s easier to get a McDonalds in Qatar than it is to get petrol. Or is it the array of fast food outlets in every food court in every mall. Burger King, McDonalds, KFC, Dairy Queen and Pizza Hut featuring in every single one and dotted in between are TGI Fridays, Fuddruckers, Nando’s and Chilli’s. Over half of all Qataris are obese and 17% of the 250,000 Qataris living in Qatar are suffering from diabetes. Due to this high occurrence more and more Qataris are developing the condition at a younger age, many being diagnosed a decade younger than average, which, in turn, is pushing up rates of illnesses like hypertension, partial paralysis, heart disease, foot problems and blindness. As obesity is growing at an alarming rate, so to is affluence within the country, resulting in Qataris living an inactive lifestyle indoors with a flurry of maids answering to their every whim.
The irony of the it all is, we’ve been pointing the finger at the Americans all along and meanwhile it was the Qataris that were taking the cake, with ourselves not far behind.
But let’s not rise to the challenge, let’s excuse ourselves from the cake eating competition because one thing is for sure, we will only end up miserable, and let’s face it, if you’re going to be miserable, better be miserable and rich than miserable and poor!