Obesity is our biggest challenge, says TV doctor and author Michael Mosley as he heads to Worthing Theatres on his first-ever UK theatre tour (Pavilion, February 12).
He comes straight from New Zealand and Australia where his message has certainly been hitting home.
“I am surprisingly popular in Australia. My shows get played a lot in Australia. The Australians are interested in health. I think they are slightly more so than us. They are slightly fatter than we are. I think it goes (league table of the countries with the worst obesity problems) US, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, and we are about eighth.
“So I am going to be talking a lot about what caused it. That’s what I am known for.”
He will be offering the shocking fact: more people die as a result of being overweight than as a result of being underweight.
Michael is the man behind the 5:2 diet, on the back of which he is promising to explode common health myths and offer fascinating insights into the workings of the human body, taking audiences on the unconventional journey that he himself has travelled, from swallowing tape worm to uncovering revolutionary new ways to lose weight, get fit and reduce stress.
Having studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University, Michael embarked on a career as an investment banker but soon realised that this wasn’t the career for him and went on to study medicine at London’s Royal Free Hospital.
Qualifying as a doctor, Michael opted to become a programme maker producing science and history documentaries for the BBC, first behind the camera and more recently as a presenter and has made more than a dozen programmes including Medical Mavericks, Blood and Guts, Inside Michael Mosley, Inside The Human Body and Eat, Fast Live Longer. Trust Me I’m A Doctor saw Michael take up presenting duties for the first time.
He is well positioned to look at the origins of our obesity, namely the low-fat diets coming in which opened the way for the introduction of sugary junk food. But what also happened was that we were encouraged to eat all the time:
“It was the idea of always keeping yourself topped up, that we should eat lots of small meals during the day.”
The problem was that the small meals turned out to be big meals.
“What we need to do is go back to longer periods where we are not eating at all, where we are fasting.”
Michael insists he doesn’t think it is ever too late. We need to think in terms of the consequences, diabetes and dementia: “But I am feeling optimistic that change is possible. I think people are now embracing things that would have once seemed pretty radical. I think we are moving away from a lot of the myths.”
And that’s part of what Michael will be talking about. “I am hoping that people will be inspired as well as entertained.”
He is also hoping that people will challenge what he is saying: “I am very open to questions. That’s what I like about doing live shows. These are my first live shows in the UK. I like the challenge and people being interactive at the book signings.”