Do the lunchtime test

So, we’re part of the second fattest region in Australia, according to figures compiled by Medicare Local.

For the sake of the study, the Riverland is lumped in with the South East, which makes some of the conclusions – including the startling news that 75 per cent of residents are overweight or obese – somewhat less harsh.

Regardless, unless our South East friends are incredibly flabby, it still makes for disturbing reading.

But is it surprising?

Not that long ago a

Pioneer staff member conducted their own poll – based only on observation – while venturing out of the office, ordering and collecting lunch at a local shopping centre.

By their admittedly inexact system, 17 of the 23 people they observed were described as either (excuse the blunt descriptions) “fat” or “chubby”.

Just six were “normal”.

The surveyor may have been a little unkind (and studies, such as that carried out by Medicare Local, often stretch the boundaries of ‘overweight’), but make no mistake, as a community we’re carrying much more weight than we once did.

The Riverland is a beautiful place, with plenty of space. Sure, we get bitterly cold in winter, but we still get plenty of sunshine. Yes, often our summers are scorchers, but the long days lend themselves to outdoor activities.

So, why are we proportionally fatter than almost anywhere else?

Is it our depressed economy, which in turn contributes to poor diet choices?

Is it the relatively recent adoption of many previously city-centric lifestyle choices?

If you don’t think it’s a problem in the Riverland, maybe do the lunchtime test yourself next time.