Two-time Olympic rowing medalist and aspiring politician James Cracknell said during an interview with Sky News on Tuesday that North Korea and Cuba were examples of countries that had obesity under control.
"If you think of the two countries of the world that have got a handle on obesity, what do you think they are? Which two countries?" he asked the co-hosts of the show. Before waiting for an answer from the co-hosts next to him, Cracknell continued, "North Korea and Cuba. See, they are quite controlling on behavioral change — you have to get people to buy into it."
The hosts paused in stunned silence, appearing to attempt to read whether Cracknell was serious or if he made the comment in jest.
"Well, people are starving in North Korea, aren't they? They're not obese because they haven't got any food," co-host Jonathan Samuels responded.
Cracknell brushed off the comment and kept going.
"Exactly. But there were sanctions and everything else — the example is, it's behavioral change," he said.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 18, 2017
Cracknell is planning to run for Parliament in 2020 as a member of the Conservative Party, and hopes to make government crackdown of obesity a central issue in his platform.
The leaders of North Korea and Cuba, both Communist regimes, have a history of depriving their citizens of food while spending millions of dollars of luxury items for its own members of government and military programs.
After the show, Cracknell added on Twitter that he was "citing as examples of intervention controlling/influencing behavioral change [sic] funnily enough not the route the U.K. adopts."
Other is Cuba, citing as examples of intervention controlling/influencing behavioural change funnily enough not the route the U.K. adopts https://t.co/PLfun8t1x3
— James Cracknell (@jamescracknell) April 18, 2017