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.
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?"