Feature Christmas 2008: Food and Drink

Billy Bunter and the obesogenic environment

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2877 (Published 16 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2877
  1. Mark Petticrew, professor
  1. 1Public and Environmental Health Research Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT
  1. Correspondence to: mark.petticrew{at}lshtm.ac.uk

    Cripes, said Bunter, what will the government do next? Mark Petticrew investigates

    “Come in!” barked Mr Quelch, form master of the Lower Fourth, in response to a tentative knocking at his study door. He set aside the history of Greyfriars School on which he had been working and peered over the top of his glasses at the rotund form that sidled into his office.

    “Ah . . . Bunter. What do you want? This had better be important. And if it isn’t . . .” He flexed his cane meaningfully, glancing in the direction of Bunter’s ample rump in a manner fortunately now absent from stories about bespectacled public schoolboys.

    Bunter blinked owlishly behind his thick, pre-NHS horn-rimmed glasses.

    “Sir!” he squeaked. “It’s the school vending machine. There’s something wrong with it.”

    “Wrong, Bunter? What could possibly be wrong with it?”

    “Sir,” went on Bunter nervously “You know how it usually dispenses Mrs Bloater’s Carbonated Cordials? Well, the bottles now only seem to contain this colourless, odourless fluid. . .”

    He waggled a plastic bottle at Quelch. “I think she’s trying to pull a fast one, Quelchy—I mean, SIR” he corrected himself quickly. “I think this is. . .” he leant forward conspiratorially “. . . WATER!”

    “Of course it’s water, Bunter you dolt!” exploded Quelch. “Junk food has been banned in schools since 2006!”1

    Bunter blinked, his mouth a surprised “O.”

    “Anything else, Bunter”?

    The Fat Owl of the Remove nodded. “Er . . . yes, …

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