No excuses, no nannying?
How wonderful it is to see the Conservatives acknowledging that obesity might be a problem in our modern society. Having recently checked my Body Mass Index, suitably adjusted for a non-smoker, I find that I am something like 0.4 of a point overweight, so I was particularly interested to see what Andrew Lansley might propose to help get our nation of lard-arses on the move again.
Once more it turns out that the Conservative Party is all about big talk but limp wristed action; so with pornography, now also with the health of the nation. The grand plan is to ask the food industry if they would be good chaps and reduce the size of the portions they dish out, presumably meaning in ready-meals, frozen meals and desserts. I imagine that the food industry will have no problem with that as they’ll keep the sticker price the same, padding their profit margins.
Along with a few government initiatives to make it seem cool to eat healthy and signing up to the EU mandates about having nutritional information on the front of the pack (which most supermarkets’ own brands largely comply with anyway), Lansley’s speech was remarkable mostly for its demonstration that the Conservatives actually don’t have a coherent health policy. Apparently things like halting the fire-sale of school sports pitches aren’t viable alternatives.
Lansley commented, “… we must be positive – positive about the fun and benefits to be had from healthy living, trying to get rid of people’s excuses for being obese by tackling the issue in a positive way.” So the Conservative policy seems to be a case of talking away the causes of obesity instead of actually tackling them, believing that most people are obese largely by choice. So not anything to do with time constraints, declining skills in fresh cooking, increasing costs of fresh produce and other more mundane considerations.
Here’s a thought. Why shouldn’t half an hour of every week-day involve paid cardio-vascular exertions? The incoming Tory government could plan leisure facilities on a scale not seen in decades (which reminds me, might not a cause of obesity be a result of the rise in price of surviving leisure facilities and the declining level of these overall?). For each town and city, per several thousand people we could provide gyms and we could compel companies to write into their staff contracts paid time every week-day for a work-out session.
Boom, the whole nation is suddenly on the road to cardio-vascular health and obesity rates are drastically decreased. Obviously exceptions could be built into the plan – such as those with heart problems, the unemployed, the disabled and so forth. Even if this is unworkable in the specifics, the idea is sound – it just seems that these days an ever decreasing number of people is interested in imaginative solutions to the problems which are confronting the entire Western world and are therefore unlikely to be solely due to bad personal eating and exercise habits.