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Campaign to end the 'stigma' of obesity

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by Uther, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Uther

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Jun 16, 2005

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  2. FortuitousFluke

    Mobster

    Joined: Jul 7, 2011

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    Location: Cambridgeshire

    It's a really interesting situation, one the one hand it's detrimental to a persons health to carry too much weight. There is a strong correlation between obesity and a number of health conditions and that correlation still exists in the "fit but fat" category of people who are active but overweight. On the other hand the way society deals with obesity is problematic in itself.

    Within medical and legislative circles it's all about empowering people to make good choices, giving them the information, the guidance and knowledge of the risks and letting them get on with it, along with other measures like the sugar tax. In this vein it's like smoking, you can do it if you want but we're going to do what we can to make you decide to quit, and don't blame us if it all goes wrong for you, we were clear with our warnings. I think the majority of obese people accept this and accept the risks. But within society as a whole it's demonised, you shouldn't be fat, and if you are fat then as a society we will look down on you, shun you, and take the mickey. Aside from the fact that this isn't how a civilised society acts it's actually incredibly counter productive when you take into account that so many people use food as a coping mechanism. I'm in reasonably good shape, not overweight, pretty active, mental health is okay, but if I'm feeling tired or down I do find myself craving junk food, and i will binge on sugar as a way of managing either an emotion or a physical issue like fatigue. Now if you consider that somebody like me is doing that, how does demonising a fat person help the situation at all?

    I think one of the big issues in this country is that publicly funded healthcare creates a them and us situation. If you see somebody overeating, smoking, not looking after themselves etc then it feels like they're breaking a social contract with society which says we as a whole will support you if you need us, but you need to do your best not to need us first. This even goes so far as people moaning about motorcyclists being more likely to be in a crash, so sympathy for obese people is clearly quite rare.

    I don't know how we get around it really, the situation is getting worse and we're heading to a potential crisis in terms of healthcare so clearly current methods aren't sufficient, but then what do you do?
     
  3. Quartz

    Sgarrista

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    And exercise too little. I am guilty as charged and it really is down to me, no one else.
     
  4. D.P.

    Caporegime

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 30,065

    This,a long with a a whole host of additional reasons:
    • Modern pedantry lifestyle that is often forced upon people due to long work hours in offices, long commutes, working second jobs, less assistance raising children. Simply getting the time to exercise is hard these days for many.
    • Food manufacturers: purposely making their food as addictive as possible, using cheapest bulking ingredients possible like HF corn syrup, constant marketing
    • People pedaling fad diets that have no long term weight loss
    • Increasing costs of fresh healthy ingredients
    • Aggressive marketing and unethical strategies by fast food companies
    • Costs of gym/pool memberships
    • Supermakerts strategy of filling the checkout with trash snacks
    • The publics attitudes towards vegetarians and vegans, that shuns people for not eating meat.


    Etc,e tc.

    There are numerous reasons for the obesity. Blaming fat people is much like blaming a factory worker for not working harder so they can earn a figure salary. Sure the bottom line is poor decision making, but making he right decisions is incredibly complex when you are constantly lied to or manipulated by companies who want to sell you as much fat laden sugar filled garbage as possible.
     
  5. D.P.

    Caporegime

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    Posts: 30,065

    No easy way round any of this.
    Taxes will help somewhat, e.g. is does reduce the amount of smokers and raises more money than NHS costs.

    The sugar tax is a step in the right direction but I think in general we could levy much higher taxes on meat and dairy, pre-prepared meals, eating out, with an additional tax on fast food meals over 700 calories say
    . With the tax subsidize fruits and vegetables. As with smoking, there should be much more restrictions on advertising unhealthy snacks. In supermarket snacks and sweets should be restricted to a separate area away from checkouts. Alcohol duty needs to be raised a lot further, it is ridiculously cheap to buy alcohol.

    Fuel duty should be raised a lot as well. More schemes and incentives for cycling or walking to work, including benefiting people for using there own legs for even part of the journey (Yes, many people commute too far in total but could get transportation that still leaves them with a 2 mile walk to work etc).

    Increase funding for public pools and gyms, have a means tested grant so lower income people get gym access for free.
     
  6. Jono8

    Caporegime

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    I am going to take complete objection to that one :p. That is simply no excuse. You do not need a gym or pool membership to not be obese.
     
  7. JeditOjanen

    Mobster

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    Now that's what you might call a gut reaction. ;)

    A lot of ready meals are made to healthy recipes, so taxing them is essentially taxing people who work long hours and don't have time to cook something proper - usually poor people. I could go with a levy on food by proportional fat content, though.
     
  8. krooton

    Caporegime

    Joined: May 9, 2004

    Posts: 25,187

    Location: Leafy outskirts of London

    So lard becomes super expensive? :p

    Fat isn't the enemy guys, even with twice the calorific load of carbs and protein, it is MUCH easier to overindulge on empty carbs, fat is at least satiating, drinking multiple litres of full-sugar coke (which some people do) isn't.

    Leave my cheese alone!
     
  9. FortuitousFluke

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    The problem with general taxation though is that it's entirely regressive. Looking at the list you've given above they would all impact me adversely through no fault of my own, and there will be people below my wage level in the same boat, so you end up causing more problems than you solve. Fuel duty is equally an issue. I used to cycle for part of my commute and whilst I welcomed the exercise it meant I spent 5 hrs a day travelling.

    It's a really tricky situation but taxation is likely to make things worse for the people at the lower end of the earning spectrum.
     
  10. Quartz

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    There really is no better alternative than eating less and exercising more. And I know that I don't do either.
     
  11. Hotwired

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 17, 2009

    Posts: 6,986

    Why not a campaign against the stigma of smoking derived health issues.

    Think of the many factors causing people to smoke. The mental factors. The upbringing. The lack of people to slap them upside the head and physically take the tobacco off them each time.
     
  12. D.P.

    Caporegime

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 30,065


    well, the issue is bigger. Fuel duty should increase a lot, the railways and transportation should be nationalized and then heavily subsidized in order to meet required climate change objectives. You can then offer financial/tax incentives for cycle/walk commuting, even if that is only part of the journey.

    There also needs to be a reduction in working hours, for numerous reasons, but it will also allow more exercise and better options for self-powered commutes.

    Commutes can also be reduce with better control over house pricing. Renters need much better controls over pricing. In other countries where renting is the norm people that work ina city are much more likely to actually live in the city in an apartment rather than do a 1-2 hour commute by car.
     
  13. Shadowness

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    As a genuine question though.....

    What proportion of people who are overweight are that way because of health issues? and not simple because they eat too much and exercise too little?
     
  14. Shadowness

    Mobster

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    Sorry. No it's not. It really isn't.
     
  15. D.P.

    Caporegime

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    yes it is, otherwise people wouldn't constantly make poor dietary choices so frequently.
     
  16. robj20

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    Not sure i agree with that, a lot of people know what they eat will make them fat, they're just too lazy and or like the food too much and refuse to say enough is enough.
     
  17. FortuitousFluke

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    You say that but I'm in decent shape myself and, although I'm aware that fast food etc is a massive issue in terms of the old waistline, I'm now completely baffled by what an optimal balance of the different food groups would be. The official guidance has gone from fat is bad eat sugar and carbs, to sugar and carbs are bad eat more fats and protein, but not red meat which is bad, but high in iron, which is good. Vegan diets are the healthiest, except for the anemia, no go high protein, except you might get fat, cut out carbs entirely, no wait just the bad carbs, other carbs are fine, wine reduces the risk of cancer, but will also give you cancer so be careful.

    It's a minefield, I do what I can and in terms of weight I do okay but I'd love to optimise my diet a bit if I could find two people who agree on what I should be eating in the first place.
     
  18. d_brennen

    Capodecina

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    Taxing unhealthy food is wrong imo. Why should I have to pay more for the odd snickers or can of coke I get every now and then just because some heffers can't control themselves?
     
  19. Shadowness

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    Rubbish. So you think it's not clear that a dominos pizza or a burger at the pub are healthy options?! (for example!)

    All the kids you see walking out of supermarkets with their parents with bags of sweets.....you think their parents think they are healthy for them?

    I will agree it is difficult to sometimes know how many calories are in some foods, but it is pretty obvious which foods are bad and which are good. They make these choices because of convenience, or they don't care.
     
  20. Sheff

    Hitman

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    Smoking prevalence is decreasing (https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/searc...1/ati/6/are/E12000004/iid/91547/age/188/sex/4), it's accepted culturally that smoking is bad, and the message can be simplified to smoking = bad.

    Obesity is difficult in that eating is obviously a requirement and so it is harder to get across due to the nuances - right foods, portion sizes etc.