Thursday, 4 September 2014

The truth about obesity - it's declining not increasing


From Rob Lyons:

According to the Health Survey for England, the number of children aged 11 to 15 who are obese or overweight fell from 41.7 per cent in 2004 to 35.2 per cent in 2012. The peak in adult obesity was reached in 2010 at 26.1 per cent, before falling to 24.7 per cent in 2012. Are those the kinds of figures – painting a picture of a problem in decline – that suggest a state of emergency?

Just like the pandemic of drunken debauchery that Public Health and the media wanted us to believe in while consumption of alcohol was plummeting, this tells the tale about another Public Health lie - the obesity crisis. This isn't to say that we aren't fatter on average than we were three decades ago but it is to say that, just as with drinking and smoking, the trend is towards healthy levels of consumption. Levels of obesity are declining not rising.

What we have to ask is why Public Health continue to claim that unless something drastic is done - new taxes being the usual favourite followed by advertising bans and packaging controls - then the problem will spiral out of control.  It seems that what we're doing right now - educating people about a healthy diet and a healthy weight, providing good information on food products and intervening to support the very obese - is actually working pretty well.

Instead we get a collection of Public Health Lintillas screaming 'panic, panic' when there is absolutely no need for such a reaction. I have to conclude that these people are either stupid or, more likely, wanting to raise the stakes for reasons of self-interest.



Lysistrata said...

Yep, fully agree.

Simon, what's the current state of play with Bfd Met's Public Health, now responsibility has been transferred back to local authorities?

For example, I think I read a few days ago (and sadly failed to bookmark) that e.g. Bradford's smoking cessation teams were being wound back.

Simon Cooke said...

@Lysistrata The Council has decided to stop collecting data on the performance of smoking cessation - saves about £20k a year. There has been a reorganisation of the cessasion programmes but no actual reductions.

Junican said...

Does that mean that no one will know whether 'smoking cessation' is having an effect or not?