Caroline Flint Interview

Caroline Flint is Minister of State for Public Health, and MP for Don Valley
Caroline Flint June 05 (2)Going for a walk – chore or pleasure?

We live a short way from fields and open space, and I love walking there, chatting to my husband and watching out dog, Joey. He’s got a bit of whippet in him, so takes all the other dogs for a run. He came second in parliamentary dog of the year once.

What is your biggest fitness achievement?

I’ve had a personal trainer for a year now, who’s made me lift weights. The idea wasn’t that natural to me, but, to my surprise I’m enjoying it, and the other day he told me that I could lift heavier weights than some of the 30 year-old men he trains.

Have you jumped on any faddy exercise bandwagons?

I’ve often bought exercise videos that only adorn the shelves and I’ve got an aerobics step that just gathers dust. I also have an irritating habit of cutting all the latest exercises from newspapers and magazines, but the cutting itself is the only exercise I get from it. I do enjoy my regular tap dancing classes though.

Do we worry too much about health?

Yes and no. A lot of the work in this department is looking at why people know all about staying healthy, but things get in the way of actually doing anything about it. We’re trying to unblock some of those obstacles.

Do you ever binge?

Every now and again, once a year or something, I really fancy a Toffee Crisp [chocolate bar]. Over the course of a few weeks I’ll have three Toffee Crisps, and that will be that for the year. I don’t know what the psychologists would read into that.

Would you have cosmetic surgery?

Ask me in 20 years time!

Do you feel under pressure to look good?

Yes – because I think women are judged by different standards to men. I had a surprise TV interview once, and I hadn’t done my hair. I got emails afterwards saying I looked like a Gypsy, and a complete mess for a government minister. Things are equalising though – we had a debate on public health last week that turned into a competition between male MPs about who’d lost the most weight. We will have equality when men are judged on their appearances in the same way as women. Or maybe when we stop judging on appearances…



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