Experts claim that the greatest health risk currently facing Western medicine is obesity - which, if nothing else, demonstrates that these so-called experts seem to know a fat lot of nothing about anything. Experts, pah! Who are these cretins? As someone who has made a study of ordinary people - using remote cameras secretly installed in their burrows - I have no doubt that the greatest health risk they currently face is posed by cutlery. Oh yes, I've seen the way they eat. Think about the agonising pain of jamming a fork into the side of your own head. Think about the loss of blood, the blackouts, the irreversible brain damage. Think about the inconvenience of having to buy a new fork. Now consider the inevitable consequence of putting on a bit of extra weight. Yep, that's right - new trousers. No contest, is it?

Hello Tubby. My name is Doctor Bongo and let me say right now that I deplore the attempts by some of my less reputable colleagues to make money out of the misfortunes of their patients. I refer of course to the practice of endorsing shady medical products for personal gain. You've no doubt seen all those highly suspect adverts in your Sunday papers, brazenly hawking revolutionary new fitness regimes, miracle cures and x-ray specs. It's hokum. I don't remember anything about exploiting the sick and needy in the Hippocratic oath - and I should know because they made me say it twice. Okay, so it's perfectly fine to laugh at your patients, mistreat them and humiliate them in public. That's just our way of getting through the day. But you wouldn't want to do anything that would create an audit trail.

But back to my point. Cutlery notwithstanding, we do still have an obligation to tackle the obese. And by that, I don't mean that we should leap on them as they waddle down the street. Tempting though it is to wrestle fatty to the ground and scream obscenities at him for his own good, I would not personally attempt it without protective clothing and heavy lifting gear. Besides, as a weight control technique it leaves very little to be desired. Granted, it is very satisfying for the 'instructor' but it results in little overall weight loss and far more in the way of police intervention than you might be prepared to tolerate.

The real issue is that we're all inclined to get a little tubby - and by 'we' I mean 'you'. I personally am able to control the urge to shovel chips down my neck twenty-four hours a day, and the thought of going five minutes without doughnuts is rarely likely to give me panic attacks. This is because I am better than you. The shuffling hulks who regularly squeeze themselves into my waiting room like lardy toothpaste cannot be presumed to have my powers of self-restraint. It's only natural that they are going to grow ever larger as they continue to absorb the output of the increasing number of fast food outlets that are springing up to service their insane cravings.

And this presents us with a problem. How can we ever hope to lure Billy Bloater away from his daily fix of fatty acids when a whole industry thrives on pushing artery-busting lumps of gristle onto vulgar, heedless fat-tards, who lack the power to resist such greasy bounty? Can we not rely on some process of natural selection, whereby the bovine butterballs become so massive that they collapse in on themselves and form a super-massive black pudding? Sadly there is no evidence of this happening. Certainly, they invariably become too hefty to move, but nature has a way of coping and has ensured that their podgy fingers never become so swollen that they are unable to pick up a phone and dial for a pizza.

What we need is a revolutionary new approach, and just such an idea came to me recently when a rather portly young man arrived at my surgery. Admittedly, I was a little concerned when I first saw him trying to squish through the doorway. It seemed there was little chance of him getting through, but by God he was a trier. There was a splintering of wood, a cracking of masonry and moments later he burst through with a wet pop that sounded not unlike the noise you get when you try to insert a sea lion into a post-box. As he stood panting before me, brushing the loose plaster from his shoulders, the sweat curling from his upper lip and splashing onto his belly before evaporating with a hot sizzle, it occurred to me that this chap wasn't fat at all. It's just that his aspect ratio was wrong - he was wider than he was tall.

You see, the way to combat this problem is not to try and actually make people thinner - that will continue to be a losing battle as long as food manufacturers conspire to develop new and ever more sugary ways of delivering coronary heart diseases. We need to change people's perceptions. This is something many people already do out of a misplaced sense of politeness. The standard response to the question "Does this make me look fat?" is "No, not at all, love. Have some more cake." Such phrases, however, can only provide a temporary sense of self-worth. If only there was something that could physically alter people's perceptions. Perhaps some kind of prismatic wide-angled spectacles that made everyone around you appear to be as portly as you.

Well, hey, now there is! The new Bongo Patented Heat Resistant Prismatic Wide-Angled Spectacles incorporate Flab-O-Vision technology to ensure that anyone within the field of vision will appear to be at least three times as wide as the wearer. You'll notice your self-confidence come flooding back within minutes of putting them on. And they're heat resistant! For more details, and for your chance to win a free cellulite-enhancing monocle, check out my advert in this week's Sunday paper. Cheerio.

Return to Doctor Bongo's Casebook

Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2012

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