If we want to solve obesity, just install the Stalinist dictatorship North Korea has.
That was the serious suggestion from British athlete and Conservative Party politician, James Cracknell.
Cracknell, a two time Olympic gold medal winner in rowing, is now a health activist. In 2014 he was candidate for the European Parliament (representing South West England and Gibraltar). He says he's running for the British parliament in 2020 on an anti-obesity platform.
During an interview on Sky News, Cracknell celebrated North Korea and Cuba for getting a "handle" on obesity.
“If you think of the two countries in the world that have got a handle on obesity, what do you think which two countries?” Cracknell asked his interviewers.
“I’m stumped there," the anchor replied. "I don’t know.”
"North Korea and Cuba," Cracknell claimed. "They’re quite controlling of behavioral change, so there is a place. You have to work and you have to have people buy into it. And the reality is that —“
When challenged that the reason North Koreans aren't obese is because they're starving, Cracknell remained undeterred.
“Exactly, there are sanctions in place, but it’s one of the examples of this behavioral change,” he said.
North Korea's agriculture industry was effectively destroyed after the Kim family's tightened its vice grip over the country's economy. A famine in 1994-1998 led to an estimate 240,000 - 3.5 million deaths. The country owes almost all of its food on aid from China, South Korea, the United States, Japan, and the European Union. Malnutrition is rampant, as people resort to eating bark, dirt, and grass. Cannibalism has also been reported. Almost half of children are reported to have stunted development due to malnutrition.