SCOTTISH Government statisticians have produced data on health behaviour broken down by religious and ethnic groups.

This is not to be confused with the number of the population broken down by age and sex, which is quite a lot.

The headline-writers have focused on the fact that members of the Church of Scotland are most likely to be obese at 30%. Though to be fair, adherents of the Kirk are by one or two percentage points only a short, fat neck ahead of Catholics and Muslims.

Loading article content

I can only imagine the Protestants are a bit chubbier because they have a decent breakfast before they go to church and then sook peppermints as they listen to long sermons.

Catholics have to fast before taking communion. Even short periods of abstinence will make you thinner. In my day, they did not eat meat on Fridays. A waitress at the legendary Sloan's restaurant in Glasgow used to ascertain the number of fish portions at a large table of diners by saying: "Hauns up, the Catholics."

Muslims must be a bit trimmer by not eating addictive bacon rolls. Scottish Buddhists are by far and away the biggest consumers of fruit and vegetables. They have a relatively low level of obesity at 15%.

I think I met all 15% once at a Faslane anti-nuclear rally, where they hoovered up the Spam sandwiches and stopped the bus for fish suppers on the way home.

On the excess alcohol front, atheists are in the lead, hotly pursued by Catholics. As a Roman Calvinist atheist with a fondness for Mahatma Gandhi, I fit into too many categories. By the way that's Mahatma Gandhi as in the Hindu guru and liberator of the Indian nation, not the rhyming slang for a wee brandy.