The upcoming London Olympics are "tainted" by Britain’s position as Europe’s fattest nation, according to Jamie Oliver.
Along with several other health figures, the celebrity chef and professional obesity gadfly sent a letter to David Cameron taking the upcoming Olympics as impetus to call for cooking lessons to be added to the National Curriculum for students ages 4 to 14.
"Sitting in front of the television, cheering our elite athletes on, while eating crisps and chocolates, drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is entirely counter-productive," wrote David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum.
According to The Telegraph, the letter calls for compulsory cooking lessons and more athletic role models.
"The UK now has the highest rate of obesity in Europe, with one in three children overweight or obese by the age of nine," wrote Terence Stephenson of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. "If these lifestyles don't change, the U.K. will have an adult population suffering with diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, giving an already cash-strapped NHS a £10 billion a year medical bill."
The letter’s signers argue that compulsory cooking lessons for schoolchildren are the best way to counter Britain’s obesity problem, and the Olympics are the ideal time to promote a healthier lifestyle.
"National enthusiasm must be accompanied by an improved diet and enhanced physical activity by the entire population, not just by our Olympians, for a significant difference to be made to the deteriorating health of the population," said Haslam.