Birmingham Public Health’s childhood obesity co-ordinator, Charlene Mulhern shares her views on the latest fast food offering.
If we are what we eat, what does that make the consumers of this monstrosity?
You may have seen media stories about the Hungry Horse chainâ€™s new double donut burger, which contains almost 2,000 calories â€“ 98 per cent of a womanâ€™s recommended daily intake.
The terrifying dish includes two beef burgers topped with melted cheese and four smoked streaky bacon rashers topped with BBQ sauce â€“ all served in two glazed ring donuts.
Just for the avoidance of any doubt, this burger does not form part of a healthy balanced diet.
And that’s not me being a public health, ‘nanny-state’ killjoy. I’m not trying to tell people what they can and cannot eat.
I like the odd doughnut and I have been known to enjoy a burger from time to time.
But together in such a gut-busting combination – it almost reads like a very late April Fool, doesn’t it?
Birmingham City University senior physiology lecturer Mel Wakeman has branded the dish a â€œheart attack on a plateâ€ and it’s hard to disagree with her.
She goes on to ask why such food is even available? A fair question when you discover that the burger contains 53g of saturated fat â€“ well over double the 20g daily allowance for women and children – and 8.2g of salt (adults should have no more than 6g a day).
You may have noticed the fact that, like towns and cities across the UK, Birmingham has an obesity problem.
A few scary facts for you:
- Forty per cent of 10 and 11-year-olds in Birmingham are overweight or obese. One in four of these children is clinically obese.
- The projected financial cost of obesity to our City will amount to Â£2.6 billion per year by 2050 â€“ that is the equivalent of 13.5 new Libraries of Birmingham.
- Obesity impacts on the quality of peopleâ€™s lives in many ways, not only their physical health but also their wellbeing and economic productivity.
- Overweight and obese children have significant reductions in quality of life and suffer more teasing, bullying and social isolation. 85% of obese children become obese adults and are likely to reduce their life expectancy by 9 years.
- The growth in childhood obesity means that todayâ€™s children are unlikely to live as long as their parents.
Makes for depressing reading doesn’t it?
And part of the problem is undoubtedly the availability of food like this.
Now we all make mistakes and I would suggest that the Hungry Horse chain has made a mistake here. It would be refreshing if they had a rethink and decided to withdraw this 2,000-calorie burger from the menu.
Sure people have a right to make their own choices but don’t we have a responsibility to make sure that some disastrous options are not even available?
We’re currently revamping the Healthy Choices scheme in Birmingham – aiming to encourage food outlets to include healthy options on the menu. I’m sure Hungry Horse do just that but I don’t think their double donut burger will ever be classed as a Healthy Choice.