I’m sadly not going to get through all your comments before I wrap up. Thanks for the feed back and a very entertaining read so far.
The basic problem seems to be that the statistics are, to put it technically, a bit rubbish: we rely on self-reporting of both energy in and energy out, and we don’t really know how far off the mark people are. If this really is a multi-billion pound public health (and economic) problem, surely we could do better. Below the line, fflump (1.45pm) and uuuuuuu (2.01pm) also make the very valid point that the averages are not a useful guide to individuals’ weight gain.
In short: the official stats are wrong and actually we eat more than we are told to and exercise a lot less.
The really interesting issue, though, is the growing understanding of how different types of food are more or less likely to make us fat. While this goes on, a balanced diet of proper food and a reminder that we all tend to underestimate how much we eat is probably still the best advice around.
Many of you focus though on the deeper issues underlying over-eating and lack of exercise: the sedentary jobs in our modern economy, the design of towns and cities often discouraging walking and cycling, the emotional complexities (ranelagh75), and the confusing advice from GPs and other ‘experts’ (see the chat between milinovak, ieclark and Flossiethefloozie).