Mixed messages about body weight are nothing new

Tackling obesity is the latest government initiative, universally condemned as nannying. Ask a Spartan. From an early age, Spartan children were taught not to be fussy: to eat up their food, and not to fear the dark or being left alone. At the age of seven, boys were taken from their homes and lived together in ‘herds’, exercising bare-footed and often naked, keeping fit and learning obedience. Food was sparse, because ‘overeating produces a broad, squat frame, and laboured breathing’. Lean features ‘defined the body’s true shape’, unlike obese ones. Competitive games were fostered, winners encouraged and a proud mental resilience developed. Now that’s nannying: the full Rees-Mogg. Other Greeks