Tackling Obesity : A Call to Action
This week our PM has delivered a new initiative, Tackling Obesity: Empowering Adults and Children to Live Healthier Lives.
You might image that here at The Body Retreat with our women only weight loss retreat this would be music to our ears, maybe we have already begun preparing a marketing campaign to sell more retreat places. Jump on the inevitable weight loss providers bandwagon. It wont be long before you start to see these messages filter into marketing cmapagins.
The fact is that for us here at The Body Retreat we have both been left frustrated by this initiative, for many reasons.
We have all heard on the news that certain members of our population or individuals with certain conditions seem to be more at risk of catching or having complications associated covid. You may already have heard that being overweight is just one such condition.
Now it’s not really news to anyone that excess weight can negatively impact your health, but it’s big news now that being over weight increase your covid risk.
You might be wondering why we are not happy that this is getting the attention it deserves….
Well…. There is a dangerous possibility that this news and the initiative with its call to action may actually become just another stick to beat overweight people with.
The initiative seem rushed and rather like it has been cobbled together, there are many question left unanswered but the bottom line seems to be that the country need to be better educated to “empower” (the initiative’s word not mine) people to Eat Less and Move More!!
There is talk about understanding calories, there are vouchers to get on your bike, there are also proposed bans on advertising and product placement of high calorie foods. Please don’t get me started on the traffic light food labels…
For the avoidance of doubt, if eating less and moving more worked then there would be no weight crisis!!
There is no one size fits all. Why people eat what they eat when they eat it is a complex and very personal equation. Why is it that despite knowing that daily pizza is bad and daily salad is good, people still make choices that undermine their health and wellbeing time and time again. Do you need to be clearer on the number of calories in the pizza or know that you need to cycle for about 6 hours to burn of the equivalent …does that help you make a better choice?
No….all it does is heap on the guilt when you do eat the pizza, which in turn can lead you down into a spiral of guilt, shame and recriminations. Making you feel so bad that you may console yourself with more food.
Shame rarely produces a positive outcome.
What the initiative gets right is that it speaks about the need to create an environment that is Pro Health… but that is not a society that is obsessed with calories and grams of carbohydrates, it is not a nation who are all “on their bikes” spinning their wheels like hamster in a cage trying to burn off the pounds and inches.
For all the faults in the initiatives proposals it is the very name of the initiative that gives us most concern. While the word empower is used through the document the whole premise of the initiative is that overweight people are a risk, to themselves, to the NHS, to their communities, to our nation.
The title is Tackling Obesity… this doesn’t sound empowering to us, this sounds aggressive and forceful.
Obesity and so by default the obese are now a threat…a threat to be tackled.
Feeling empowered by that message?