The recent figures on childhood eating disorders make chilling reading.
Over at Orphans of Liberty, Angry Exile points out - with his customary acerbity - that while the MSM are quick to point the finger at 'size zero' models and the celebrity culture, their own constant reference to the 'obesity epidemic' may well be playing a significant part.
Obesity has given the Righteous a mighty stick with which to smite the unbeliever and the righteous are wielding it with a vengeance; their new morality - derived, I suspect, from the slimming clubs attended by NHS administrators - is an easy one; fat = bad.
A while ago, I posted on NHS staff berating cancer patients for their supposed alcohol consumption or lack of exercise with no evidence whatsoever, justifying their action with the false syllogism:
Cancer is caused by unhealthy lifestyles.
You have cancer.
ergo You have an unhealthy lifestyle
Never mind that the patient hates alcohol and her last drink was a sherry with the in-laws at Christmas, or that she walks seven miles a day with her dog; the gospel of Healthy Living must be preached.
These evangelical harpies recently struck again; a friend was in hospital when a bright-faced young woman came in and introduced herself as his dietician before launching straight into the First Lesson for the day; 'You have to cut down on red meat".
"How much red meat do I eat, then?" my friend replied. This puzzled her; " I don't know," was the baffled answer, "How could I?" Then she brightened up; "But you have to cut down, anyway."
My friend - a Cambridge graduate who has managed to feed himself well for decades while pursuing an active career - ran logical rings round her as she tried in vain to deliver her creed for Healthy Eating; eventually she gave up and went in search of easier prey.
Our secular society is in danger of creating a whole new priestly caste - the Nanny State embodied in an army of 'experts' loudly proclaiming their revealed truth of 5-a-day and reduced-calorie diets and casting out the unholy trinity of salt, sugar and fat.
The message is pitched at a volume designed to reach those whose lifestyles feature more television and takeaways than home cooking and exercise - subtlety is, I think it's fair to say, not the order of the day.The 'healthy eating' message, complete with graphic portrayals of the fate of non-believers, is delivered with aggressive evangelical zeal to even the youngest of hearers.
And, just as some children in the past became fervently religious, a few over-conscientious, sensitive children are taking this message to extremes. The 'odour of sanctity' reported in the cells of ascetic medieval saints was almost certainly ketosis - which produces sweet-smelling acetone in the breath - resulting from extreme fasting in the name of religion.
Who would have guessed we would see its re-appearance in the 21st century?