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A Growing Problem

Recently , whilst rummaging around in the attic, I came across some old photographs including one of my primary school class photos. This was taken in 1974 towards the end of my P4 year. It’s a fairly standard affair, taken in the school gym hall. Our teacher, Mrs Tillman, is standing to the right of us and we are seated or stood in several rising rows with the help of some traditional gym benches.

I am struck by the size of the class – much larger than modern standards would approve of - and I am also aware of the obvious poverty of some of the children in the photograph. But what grabs me most is the complete absence of obesity.

I went to school in North Lanarkshire, in one of Scotland’s most deprived post code areas. The primary school roll was largely drawn from a sprawling post-War housing scheme on whose edge it stood. There were also a few “spam valley” patches and a couple of avenues of large Victorian villas thrown into the mix. But even as a naïve 8 year old I was well-aware of what we now refer to as deprivation.

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