Will the NHS collapse under the weight of obesity?

fat lassSo, according to Dr. Hilary Jones, the obesity crisis will be the thing that finally bankrupts the NHS?  Well I have no doubt that the costs associated with obesity and its consequences – diabetes, heart disease etc. – will indeed become an increasing burden on our health economy.

But I am thoroughly sick and tired of those responsible for creating the obesity crisis not being called to account!

First we have headlines that blame foods for our problems – I am thinking about the one that says “Fruit juice timebomb“, and the one asking “Why sugar is ruining our health“.  OK – again I have no doubt that these foods are harmful.  But foods do not promote themselves to us – people promote them to us!  The people who sell them; the so-called health professionals who promote them and advise patients to use them; and the policy makers who turn a blind eye to all this; they are the real culprits here: not the foods themselves.

In his article on his personal experience of dealing with diabetes the former Chief Exec of the the NHS, David Nicholson, openly tells us that his hospital dietician says that diabetics can “eat almost anything”.  Erm – NO!!

Then we have the lovely but totally misguided celebs who this week praised a massively overweight pole fitness performer on Britain’s Got Talent for being a great role model to young women.  Yes this girl has body confidence and pole-fitness talent, and I am truly glad she isn’t influenced by unhealthy skinniness, but to describe a 15-stone-heading-right-into-diabetes-and-other-health-problems-27-year-old-woman as a good example really doesn’t help the cause for a healthy nation. And before you get upset about me criticising Emma Haslam – I am not criticising Emma Haslam at all.  I have no idea why she is overweight despite obviously training so hard – but I am prepared to take a guess that she also is being criminally misled by the food and medical industries about just what constitutes healthy eating!

So this week I am right behind the calls for food regulation.

As David Nicholson identified for himself – he needed rules (not permission to eat anything he fancied – albeit on the background of a healthy diet).  He knew he wouldn’t hack it.  And now that we have a nation of people who believe they deserve, and can get away with, sugary treats on a daily basis, as the food industry would like you to believe, I sadly have to similarly conclude that many people can’t hack it either! And that’s because although I believe people really do try, their efforts are constantly undermined by mis-information!!

So sensible regulation it is then!

I am completely with Dr Tim Lobstein at the World Obesity Federation who said:

If obesity was an infectious disease, we would have seen billions of dollars being invested in bringing it under control. But because obesity is largely caused by the overconsumption of fatty and sugary foods, we have seen policy-makers unwilling to take on the corporate interests who promote these foods.”

And I am merely amused by Terry Jones’ (director of communications at the Food and Drink Federation) cynical claim that:

UK food and drink manufacturers were “already” supporting improvements to public health through many of the measures outlined in the recommendations.”

Sadly he does seem to be fooling an awful lot of people – along with those policy makers who have demonstrated a complete disregard for public health so far!

So will obesity cause the collapse of the NHS?  Well only with the help of the food industry, the medical profession and the government!


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