Azara Blog: Another pointless report on obesity

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Date published: 2007/10/17

The BBC says:

Individuals can no longer be held responsible for obesity and government must act to stop Britain "sleepwalking" into a crisis, a report has concluded.

The largest ever UK study into obesity, backed by government and compiled by 250 experts, said excess weight was now the norm in our "obesogenic" society.

Dramatic and comprehensive action was required to stop the majority of us becoming obese by 2050, they said.

The government pledged to draw up a strategy to address the issue.

But the report authors admitted proof that any anti-obesity policy worked "was scant".

Nonetheless, they said every level of society, from individuals to the upper echelons of government, had to become involved in the campaign against a condition which carried such great social and economic consequences.

In 2002, those who were overweight or obese cost nearly £7bn in treatment, state benefits and indirect costs such as loss of earnings and reduced productivity.

In 40 years' time, that figure could reach nearly £46bn, as health services struggle to cope with the ill-health such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and stroke which can be associated with excess weight.

An obese person dies on average nine years earlier than somebody of normal weight, while a very obese person's life is cut short by an average of 13 years.
Obesity, the authors concluded, was an inevitable consequence of a society in which energy-dense and cheap foods, labour-saving devices, motorised transport and sedentary work were rife.
From planning our towns to encourage more physical activity to placing more pressure on mothers to breast feed - believed to slow down infant weight gain - the report highlighted a range of policy options without making any concrete recommendations.

Another "end of the world" report. The health control freaks have managed to successfully persecute smokers so are now turning their attention to another easy target, obesity. The attitude of the authors is perfectly well illustrated by the idea that society should be "placing more pressure on mothers to breast feed". And the figures given of the cost of obesity should be taken with a pinch of salt, since they seem to have ignored the fact that "obese" people live on average 13 years less, which reduces the pension bill substantially (but we're not allowed to mention that). And we have the ritual academic middle class denunciation of "cheap foods" and "motorised transport", but the authors have managed to add a few new alleged evils: "labour-saving devices" and "sedentary work". You have a feeling these people will not be happy until Britain reverts to an agrarian society, with an occasional mass starvation to keep the peasants in check.

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