Neds is not a typo. Back to them momentarily.
Some dead Scots are so fat they can't fit into crematoriums. To bury the bulky, the funeral industry is changing equipment. Because refrigerators are raided morning, noon, and night - mortuary refrigerators had to grow. Because cars are driven morning, noon, and night - funeral cars’ rise-and-fall decks were strengthened. Because Scots laze on the couch morning, noon, and night - bariatric stretchers were expanded. Because Scots aren’t lifting weights, dead-lift equipment was bolstered.
Thus, the coffin business is literally growing. Some coffins are now 40% larger. Nowadays, in many cases, families may not be able to lower a loved one's coffin into the ground - the caskets are simply too heavy. Hoists are now, increasingly, the means in this last phase of burial.
In the Land of the Brave obesity rates rose because people exercised less and ate more junk food - or meals rich in “stuff” unique to Scotland, such as the Macaroni Pie, Munchy Box, and Square Sausage. These two factors nearly always explain the seemingly unstoppable rise in fat stats, with THE counter-intuitive fact being that primary school kids, from the most disadvantaged families, are the fattest.
From 1995 to 2013 Scottish obesity rates for those aged 16 to 64 increased from 17.2% to 25.6%.
Should the Scots ever unite enough to secede from Great Britain, one wonders if they'll have the energy to get their new country up and running.)
The third corpulence-causing factor is sitting.
Here, Scottish adults and children are quite united, what with the ungodly amount of hours the society spends watching TV or mousing around on the computer. Then, add in the sitting around that goes with school or work - and it is small wonder the Scots have a big problem getting people decreased in weight before they're ceased and deceased.
Is there any hope for a land that gave us the Deep Fried Mars Bar or is it doomed to be a Mike Myers’s Fat Bastard stereotype?
The British Medical association is pushing back. They advocate for free fruits and vegetables in Scottish primary schools. This isn't a bad idea. Getting the kids used to healthy foods early - bodes well for their eating habits later.
And a mile a day could help keep some of that fat away. Scottish health and education ministers would like to see each kid walk or run a mile daily, while at school. Another good thought...
Alas, Scotland's dilemma with unhealthy people is crystallized with the "Glasgow Effect."
There, both men and women, by years, have a lower life expectancy than do folks in all other cities in the UK. This has stumped experts but some reasons ventured deal with facts of cold winters, lack of sun, vitamin D deficiencies, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, stress, and a lack of self worth individually, and collectively, due to de-industrialization.
The reason, “only” 24% of adults there are obese, as compared to the rest of Scotland at 29%, is because most of the adults in Glasgow are too busy fighting - and fighting burns calories.
Meet the Neds.
The Neds are knife-carrying young men, who, on any given Friday, will be slashing away, cutting and carving what is known as the “Glasgow smile” onto others. They die early: needing a bigger coffin is the least of their problems.
(As the saying goes, in Possilpark Glasgow, a possil boy one may be - but prematurely dead he will also be, dead, usually, at 54 years old.)
Ned is slang in Scotland for a hooligan but it could rightfully be an apt short form for non-educated delinquent. It’s a terrible story of young men who start the evening early, mixing it up with drugs and drink, with Buckfast Tonic wine being the favorite libation, in the quest to get blootered and ratarsed. Then comes the ultimate goal. They mix it up and have "a square go" (fighting – and slashing) with others of their type.
In 2005, Glasgow was named the Murder Capital of Western Europe. The aforementioned knives, booze, and drugs - plus razors, hatchets, and machetes - fuel the city’s bewildering number of gangs, a proliferation that knows no boundaries, save for the tiny - but horrific - territorialism (and sometimes protestant-catholic sectarianism) of the park, patch, building, block, street, and scheme, which gives Glasgow a murder rate DOUBLE the national average.
The weak die young. The tough die young. Everybody dies young. And those lucky enough to survive wear scars, literally and metaphorically for the rest of their lives.
Sigh. Wouldn’t it be great for Scotland if the deceased of Glasgow were well into their eighties or nineties, and not in their fifties?
There is some hope on the gang front. University of the West of Scotland’s Johanne Miller studied 60 kids in 21 Glasgow gangs. Notwithstanding that kids as young as 12 are drawn to gangs, after about three years members want to leave those gangs, realizing that these offer nothing but a dead end. And Karyn McCluskey of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit thinks “they are turning a corner...” Since 2008, Glaswegian violent-gang offenses have lessened by 46%.
And there could be hope on the reduction-of-obesity front if the idea of fruits and vegetables, and the idea of a mile-a-day of walking or running are implemented.
Could Scotland, simultaneously, lessen these two huge, grave problems?