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Frank Hovis

What Steps Can Government Take To Reduce Obesity?

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We've had many discussions on here as to what individuals can do but as there is a general health problem from obesity (costing the NHS £££s, and the UK £47bn - though how do you actually measure this?) then what can the government do to reduce the problem in the same way that is has reduced smoking?

The latest report:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30122015

Suggests:

"These initiatives would need to draw on interventions that rely less on individual responsibility and more on changes to the environment," the report said.

If the right measures were taken there could be long-term savings of £760m a year for the UK's National Health Service, it added.

The initiatives assessed in the report include portion control for some packaged food and the reformulation of fast and processed food.

It said these were more effective than taxes on high-fat and high-sugar products or public health campaigns. Weight management programmes and workplace fitness schemes were also considered.

The report concluded that "a strategy of sufficient scale is needed as obesity is now reaching crisis proportions".

The rising prevalence of obesity was driving the increase in heart and lung disease, diabetes and lifestyle-related cancers, it said.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England (PHE), said: "The report is a useful contribution to the obesity debate. PHE has consistently said that simple education messages alone are not enough to tackle obesity."

The one scheme of which I have direct experience that I would call a success is the "Healthy Workplace" scheme. Of course this requires you to be at work in the first place but (again IME) work or rather over-work is a direct cause of obesity; there are some enormous people where I work. It does team-based competitions for (small) prizes and you can add in weight loss prizes as well.

Things that are a waste of time IMO are:

  • subsidised gym / fitness centre memberships - ten times less fun than going for a walk / run / cycle - and unless you're reasonably fit in the first place you won't enjoy it
  • supporting local sports centres - again you don't really use these unless you're fit in the first place (but they should stay open for other reasons)
  • taxing unhealthy foods and subsidising others - do we trust the government to know what is unhealthy and what is healthy; and do we want more taxation?
  • more public education - nobody wishes to be fat and everybody knows how not to be fat; telling them again and again does nothing and may be counter-productive

So what (if anything) should the government do?

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Down to the individual not government....people need to move and they bloody well won't. We eat less calories than ever but gain weight even more because we have cars, fitted kitchens and we are culturally lazy.

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Government should sop trying to nanny us. We're all intelligent adults on this site. We don't need a bunch of overbred idiots telling us how to live our lives.

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Down to the individual not government....people need to move and they bloody well won't. We eat less calories than ever but gain weight even more because we have cars, fitted kitchens and we are culturally lazy.

Government should sop trying to nanny us. We're all intelligent adults on this site. We don't need a bunch of overbred idiots telling us how to live our lives.

But it costs the NHS, or rather the taxpayer, billions. You can't fix everybody's problems but if you make the right changes then you can get an overall reduction in the problem and hence the bills.

People haven't changed since the 80s but their lifestyles have; people that I know are massively overweight to the point where your mouth would have dropped if you saw them iback in the 80s, one has had a gastric band fitted.

So what changes of the last 30 years that have caused this to happen can be undone?

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Re your maths I would question them.

For instance latest evidence suggests smoking saves society money in the long run.

Basically, the duration which someone is terminally ill for does not alter between a smoker and non smoker, it just occurs earlier for a smoker. In the meantime, there are fewer run of the mill visits to the doctor, there are fewer benefits ad pensions to pay out. Plus there is extra tax on the revenue.

That's for smokers, and I take your other point that the decline of smoking has fuelled the rise in obesity (it reduces appetite and inhibits the absorption of food through the intestine).

Obese people have the health problems very early on and they are long-lasting; one I know has regular appointments with a heart consultant at some vast cost which will massively outweight the future years' savings on their pension at £7k a year.

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Obesity is a mental illness that causes by the person affected not wanting or being motivated enough to eat healthily even if they have a desire to lose weight. I don't think that the state can fix these people, but it can tax them to reduce the financial impact on others.

On the other hand if people want to be fat, which they obviously do otherwise they wouldn't be then let them be fat and charge them for healthcare for obesity related illness.

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Think of the pensions savings, as a doctor said to me once if you see an obese person over 50 shake there hand as its very rare. If anything greggs should get some sort of tax rebate for helping reduce liabilities.

Also as I have said before being fat should not entitle you to disabilities benefits.

End this PC marxist nonsense if your fat its cause you ******ing ate too much.

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This is an expensive health problem, it is not intrinsic to people but a product of their environment to which they respond in different ways. In the 80s there was much less obesity so the environment has changed. The government should do something to tilt it back into a position where most people are not obese.

Of course everybody needs to take responsibility for their own fitness but if the government can make it easier to be fit, not smoke whatever then it should be doing that.

Thinking back I knew precisely two fat kids at junior school, both of whom spent time in hospital to have their metabolisms monitored as it was such an unusual thing for a child to be fat that it was viewed as an illness.

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Gyms should be free and taxes go up to pay for them.

I think as well every site over 250 people should be obliged to have a workplace gym, showers etc for cyclists runners. Cars should be charged to park, and the subs given to funding equipment.

I go down the gym a lot, but would go less so if it wasn't so convenient for me. I would probably go at lunchtime, but not enough time and no gym on my huge site.

The free contract with the NHS needs to stop. Bascially, you should not be allowed to treat your body like crap, then expect the NHS to pick up the pieces. The idea that some people are eating themselves into wheelchairs and having hugely expensive gastric bands fitted while kids die through lack of drugs/treatments is disgusting.

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I don't agree. Because there exist many things that have changed in terms of the food chain and the supply of what people are eating. That is particularly where government can step in.

+1 from me

Exercise is probably part of it, but not all of it and, as already mentioned, it seems that the per capita weight of the UK herd is rising even as its per capita energy consumption is falling

The government's in a bit of a bind on this one, because if it junks four decades of supposedly healthy, but oh so flawed, eating guidelines like this...

vhtc8w.png

or the slightly revised plate-based graphic that's started doing the rounds, it's going to be sued by tubbies up and down the land six ways from Sunday.

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Gyms should be free and taxes go up to pay for them.

I think as well every site over 250 people should be obliged to have a workplace gym, showers etc for cyclists runners. Cars should be charged to park, and the subs given to funding equipment.

I go down the gym a lot, but would go less so if it wasn't so convenient for me. I would probably go at lunchtime, but not enough time and no gym on my huge site.

The free contract with the NHS needs to stop. Bascially, you should not be allowed to treat your body like crap, then expect the NHS to pick up the pieces. The idea that some people are eating themselves into wheelchairs and having hugely expensive gastric bands fitted while kids die through lack of drugs/treatments is disgusting.

Agree on the gym part - not so sure about your NHS opinion though, people tend to have different 'escapes', physical or mental and might well need the NHS at some point. Thinking about it bashing your body up down the gym could require a visit to A&E!

ION I filled in a health blah blah questionnairre at work the other day and put the suggestion forward that everyone should get a couple of 'free' hours 'holiday' a week provided it is spend in the gym.

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Gyms should be free and taxes go up to pay for them.

I think as well every site over 250 people should be obliged to have a workplace gym, showers etc for cyclists runners. Cars should be charged to park, and the subs given to funding equipment.

I go down the gym a lot, but would go less so if it wasn't so convenient for me. I would probably go at lunchtime, but not enough time and no gym on my huge site.

The free contract with the NHS needs to stop. Bascially, you should not be allowed to treat your body like crap, then expect the NHS to pick up the pieces. The idea that some people are eating themselves into wheelchairs and having hugely expensive gastric bands fitted while kids die through lack of drugs/treatments is disgusting.

Are gyms really the answer, a quick burn out and then resting up the rest of the today, there are lots of super sized gym users. Nobody was obese in the past anf there were no gyms, they ate more calories, but they just kept moving all day. Exercise shouldn't be compartmentalised, it is something you do naturally from the moment you wake to the moment you go to bed.

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Government should sop trying to nanny us. We're all intelligent adults on this site. We don't need a bunch of overbred idiots telling us how to live our lives.

Absolutely, fat chance though with this socialist shower.

"The big society"........ barf!

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Obesity is a mental illness that causes by the person affected not wanting or being motivated enough to eat healthily even if they have a desire to lose weight. I don't think that the state can fix these people, but it can tax them to reduce the financial impact on others.

On the other hand if people want to be fat, which they obviously do otherwise they wouldn't be then let them be fat and charge them for healthcare for obesity related illness.

Can of worms.

You either have a health service or you don't, I'd wonder how much of the NHS budget is due to personal choice, a large percentage of A&E visits I would imagine are a result of personal choice somewhere along the line, they are rammed on weekends, full of sports injuries and people getting drunk.

While I don't doubt obesity costs the NHS a ton, I know loads of people who have had all sorts of surgery and physiotherapy due to sports injuries and the like, far more than I know with expensive health conditions from obesity. I can't think of anybody I know who is obese and had obesity related illnesses, I could give you a massive list of the first type.

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I just think that most people just don't give a sh*t that they are fat. Most women I see on dating sites are fat - but I'm not allowed to say that cause it's 'fat shaming', right?

The last woman I dated was 25 and was fat. She ate junk food and took no exercise, and drank a fair bit too. I recently ran into a woman I went on a few dates with 3 years ago. Three years ago she was 22 years old, thin with a beautiful healthy complexion. Now, at the age of 25, she's chunk-ed up considerably and had a load of slap on her face. Lost her looks big time.

On the other hand I know a woman who is in her mid 30's who I dated around that time who is in incredible shape, because she's a vegetarian who goes to the gym several times a week. She's in far better shape than the girls above, despite being 10 years older.

It's a fu*cking tragedy - if people are getting the 'middle aged spread' by the time they're 25, what will they look like by 55?

If you walk into a supermarket these days the vast majority of food out there is really bad for you - but it's a choice. You can choose not to eat the junk food. Stop thinking of sugar and fat laden poisons as a 'treat'.

But as I say, people just don't care. Fat is acceptable.

The other elephant in the room of course is the massive amounts of alcohol that people consume. But that's a whole other debate.

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WHAT??? Won't someone think of the fermentation!

thats using sugar to make something useful and nutricious and sugar free.

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+1 from me

Exercise is probably part of it, but not all of it and, as already mentioned, it seems that the per capita weight of the UK herd is rising even as its per capita energy consumption is falling

The government's in a bit of a bind on this one, because if it junks four decades of supposedly healthy, but oh so flawed, eating guidelines like this...

or the slightly revised plate-based graphic that's started doing the rounds, it's going to be sued by tubbies up and down the land six ways from Sunday.

There is nothing wrong with the food pyramid in principle, the problem is that the heath sector do not understand obesity or how to deal with it outside of cutting somebodies stomach in half.

How many nutritionist have been obese? How many have had to lose 10+ stone? They really do not understand the problems they are trying to correct. All this small changes stuff is complete ********, it needs radical solutions, they body is in a critical state and needs drastic measures to correct.

The demonisation of fat has been the biggest issue, it's total misinformation even if at the root there is something tangible there. The message has been eat less fat, when it should have simply been eat less. People have just replaced the calories from fat with something else, what's worse is because they think it's healthy they actually increase calorie intake.

Nobody who has lived through the past 30 years can be in any doubt that a high dat diet is bad (because that's what they have been told), we have shelves fully of "healthy" food and yet we are bigger than ever.

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Surprised no one has mentioned the obvious.

Profit.

The Food industries / lobby generate vast profits from the marketing and sale of exceptionally cheap and nutritionally poor products, from “value” meat products to fruit juices and sodas.

If you want to reduce obesity, remove the mass marketing and advertising of these products. People buy and consume them because they are condition to do so.

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