Battling Obesity

Most serious, most serious indeed.

Alan Johnson, Britain\’s health secretary, got it right when he called for a national movement to tackle obesity in his Fabian Society speech. He\’s taken on board the sound advice offered to governments over many years now that to have any hope of stemming the tide of overweight and obesity, you need a societal approach that involves everyone in becoming part of the solution.

Hmm, OK.

There is ample evidence of what a complicated business it can be trying to deliver health messages. We know that what works usually has a sting in the tail – such as a penalty for not using a seat belt, or smoking in the wrong place – but we also know what doesn\’t really work.

Well, yes, if we\’re going to have to get all of society involved, we should indeed think about what all of society can actually do about this.

There must be a movement by companies, to make healthier choices over the products they make available. There needs to be a movement to tailor environments to favour people and public transport. Most of all there needs to be a movement to protect younger consumers, and that must not mean fudging the issue of health. We are all involved in becoming part of the solution, especially in grappling with the challenge of reducing childhood obesity. It takes a village, or nowadays the global village, to raise our children.

I\’m not sure Our Neville has actually thought this through properly. For we do know of a very powerful force which society as a whole can use: public shame.

If we simply insist that people should mock and jeer fatties whenever and wherever they encounter them then their noting the public contempt for them will get them dieting soon enough. This does hit all the correct contemprary buttons, doesn\’t it? Inclusive, check, societally based, check, communal action, check, both carrot and stick, check.

Heck, why not utilise one of the most powerful of human emotions, hatred of the out group?

So, who knows the words to "Who Ate All The Pies?"

15 thoughts on “Battling Obesity”

  1. Tim, I hope you are being ironic, otherwise: fuck off.

    I’m a “fattie,” have been all my life and not being so is not as easy as you might think.

    How exactly does my weight effect you? What business of it is yours? People can drink and smoke as much as they wish as far as I am concerned, provided they don’t make me inhale their smoke or want to fight me or throw up on me – where is the moral authority for you to tell me how much I should weigh?

    Tim adds: “Tim, I hope you are being ironic”…Yup!

  2. “What business of it is yours?”

    An excellent question, one not asked enough these days. It represents the very essence of liberty.

  3. “…where is the moral authority for you to tell me how much I should weigh?”

    Shouldn’t you be asking that question of Alan Johnson, instead…?

  4. Perhaps getting the feral chavs under control, stopping the peado panic and refraining from trying to wrap children in cotton wool will help.

    Children have a particular affinity to sugary and fatty foods. This is because in their natural state they basically run around all day.

  5. Sorry Gasman, having had a childhood of bullying on account of being a fat kid, people calling for the public taunting of anyone is not funny. If you call that a sense of humour failure: guilty as charged.

    And as I as a case can prove, it doesn’t work. It would just create a lot of fat people who are very unhappy because society thinks it’s OK to bully them.

  6. I picked up a leaflet at the GP’s. Stop putting two spoonfuls of sugar on your breakfast cereal, it said. Bloody cheek: never done that in my life. In fact it instructed me to cut down on things I never do (Drink Coke? I’m an adult not a septic.) and cut out things I never eat. Its punctuation was none too hot either. They are not just bullies; they are tits.

  7. “provided they don’t make me inhale their smoke ”

    I would never MAKE anyone inhale my smoke. How, would a smoker do that anyway? Hold you down and blow it up your nose? In the good old days of just over a year ago, I WOULD smoke in places where the owner didn’t mind me doing so, and other guests can chose to stay or go to somewhere who’s owner did not permit smoking. Or, are you suggesting that it is right that private establishments are forced to have a smoking policy to suite you regardless of the wishes of the owner.

  8. ” I don’t think Alan Johnson is calling for public humiliation as a method of health care.”

    No, but he is calling for it to be the states business what weight people are, which is what you – quite rightly – objected to. However, you then asked the rhetorical question about what business was it of anyones to Tim, when in fact it was Johnson who wanted to stick his nose in.

  9. Haven’t these people figured it out yet? I’m not part of the solution, I’m part of the problem!

  10. 1/ The “obesity epidemic” is largely measured as increased BMI- which index assumes the mass of an object to be proportional to the square of its hight- try it with dolls and you’ll find the cube gives a better match (hey O level maths is for a purpose!) So as people get taller but keep the same proportions, the BMI figures show them as getting fatter.
    2/ Of course we don’t have the rickets and malnutrition that we used to get- too much wealth- that must be actually making some people fatter- all those normal weight people who would have been starving.
    3/ People live longer than they used to and gain weight as they age- terrible that so few don’t die young anymore isn’t it .
    4/overweight people tend to live longer than normal let alone underweight people and survive longer after major surgery.
    5/ No diet has ever been show to produce sustained weight loss
    (Check out Sandy)

    So I ask, is the anti obesity drive a subtle plan to get people to die young thus saving on welfare costs, or is it a way of politicians grandstanding at everyones expense-especially of course those whose genes make them portly, an out group before billy bunter’s day.

  11. I was a skinny in school, and the skinnies used to get bullied as much as the fatties, but the fatties even used to bully the skinnies.

    I propose a National Hoop: you can’t fit through it, curtains for you.

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