Why Government thinking has to change to prevent an obesity crisis

Friday 4th January 2013

  • Did you promise to lose weight in 2013 as well as me?

  • New report tells it like it is for a fat nation

  • The making of a national fat fuelled disaster

A very happy New Year to one and all.

The Collins family entered into 2013 amongst friends in Durham, accompanied by fine food and a drop or two of good red wine. I trust your celebrations were as enjoyable.

Now I’m back in harness, looking out across my still growing lawn and listening to the dogs’ gentle snores from under the desk trying to put a few plans in place.

January is a time when we traditionally try to take stock, plan for the next twelve months and attempt to repair the damage we suffered in the previous year.

I generally find this process a little uncomfortable, and feel like I’m looking at the new year from the bottom of a long and steep hill; there seems like an awful lot of work to be done before I get to the summit.

My body shaping commitment I refuse to mention the dreaded D word) is well underway with plenty of fresh vegetables, a bit of fruit and abstinence from sweet temptation aided by my daily ration of [Honey, Garlic & Vinegar capsules.

So, all’s right with the world there.

Although it seems that the world is beginning to wake to the real need for us all to consider our bodies a little more carefully.

The medical professionals have woken up to the fact that they might need to be thinking about dealing with the causes rather than just treating symptoms for some of the most significant conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

On New Year’s day a report published by the Royal College of Physicians said that the NHS had to adapt to the demands of an increasingly obese nation.

With one in four UK adults now classed as being obese they maintain that this is the primary cause for an increase in healthcare challenges.

Rates of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal dysfunctions have increased alarmingly – and things are set to get worse as the experts predict that by 2050 the majority of our population will be obese.

One of the reports authors, Professor Nick Finer said;

“We need to see improved leadership on obesity at every level; from the appointment of a lead physician in every trust, to the creation of a cross- governmental role.”

This interested me because it is the first time I have heard anyone starting to link the activities of the medical profession and government in the role of dealing with this major problem.

Being obese needs a national approach

For too long we have been told that we are overweight because we gorge on too much fat and sugar, choosing to drown ourselves in vats of booze and prefer the comfort of our sofas rather than the gym.

We are gluttonous and weak-willed salad dodgers seems to be the common subtext.

But here is a learned man saying that we need to do things differently and at all levels of society.

As Professor Lindsay Davies, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said in a statement welcoming the report and urging the government to be more proactive in addressing obesity;

"Obesity is not only caused by how much we each eat or drink: if tackling it were as simple as telling people to eat less and move more, we would have solved it by now.

"Our chances of being obese are also affected by factors like whether we have easy access to affordable fruit, veg and other healthy foods, and if it safe to let our kids play outside."

Hurrah! Surely this is what we have been calling for over the last ten years; sensible and logical ways for everyone to have access to good food, open spaces and clear information.

Our government HAS to begin to tackle the food crisis by stamping on those who dominate our diets; the corporate sugar and fat barons who infest our lives.

Taking steps to rid our town centres of bad food outlets is an easy matter of planning constraint, public outrage and taxation.

The health leaders have to start making life uncomfortable for purveyors of bad food, hitting them where it hurts – their cashflow.

If not then all the poster and T-shirt campaigns will become nothing more than tumbleweed blowing across a fast food dominated landscape.

The road of hell

Never was the proliferation of junk food more obvious than on my journey back south this week.

Every service station I passed on the motorway was either sponsored by or owned by a fat-pushing company.

McDonalds, KFC and Burger King were present at every fuel stop, shelves in the shops were groaning under the weight of crisps, chocolates and sugary drinks.

I was looking for a fresh apple, a bit of cheese and a pork pie (yes, I know that pork pie isn’t a diet food but at least I know what I’m eating when I have one!) to make a family friendly ploughman’s lunch – but to no avail.

We could have had chocolate covered anything, sugar rich biscuits or the obligatory cheese burger at every corner – and all at very low prices – but nothing even vaguely fresh or healthy.

To be honest I could do with losing a few pounds (hence the body shaping pledge for January) so skipping lunch wasn’t a problem, but I did need to get the kids something so we ended up heading off road and finding a village pub.

Sated with good doorstep home cured ham sandwiches we rejoined the motorway and began counting the cars with people in eating their burgers; it turned out that a frightening number of travellers were face down in a burger box.

When we have no choice and our minds dominated by the subliminal messages derived from advertising campaigns it is no wonder that we reach for stodge.

This is why the government has to act.


Yours, as always

PS Click here and have a look a the January Sale on the Good Life Shop for some excellent money saving health bargains to start your year with a bang.








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