Tuesday, 30 August 2016

What obesity strategies - if we have to have one - should look like.

I'm not sure we need an obesity strategy but I also know I'm in a minority on this issue. The cohorts of fussbucketry have crowded out much that is sensible (by which I mean informed by evidence) in public health so we're going to have such a strategy. And in Bradford it's going to cost you £2 million or so each and every year.

So, in the interests of getting a strategy that isn't infomed by nagging the hell out of everyone, here's how the Mayor of Oklahoma City did it:

On January 1, 2012, five years after he received national attention for challenging his city to go on a joint diet, he announced they’d hit their weight loss goal: A total of 47,000 residents had together achieved the mayor’s goal of shedding 1 million pounds, registering their achievements on the campaign’s site, "This City Is Going On A Diet."

The success came because of a massive public awareness campaign that educated and encouraged citizens to eat fewer fried foods and more fresh produce, and more importantly, a collective goal that spurred competition among local employers and businesses. The mayor, whose weight once fell in the obese range, lost 40 pounds himself. The CEO of Taco Bell even flew in to discuss how to steer people to the low-fat "fresco" side of the chain’s menu.

And this successful approach is being followed up with a strategy that aims to promote physical activity - not sports but just moving around more:

Partly using proceeds from a one-penny sales tax passed in late 2009, it’s now in the process of making a slate of improvements, including a 70-acre park that will link the city’s downtown with the Oklahoma River, a new streetcar line and river kayaking facility, a senior wellness center, and hundreds of miles of jogging, walking, and biking trails. It’s also making sure there are gyms in all grade schools and is narrowing all the downtown streets to add trees to wider, more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks.

Much better than banning fast food shops, soda taxes or obsessing about weighing five-year-olds.



James Higham said...

River kayacking sounds the go. They could do punting too.

James Higham said...

River kayacking sounds the go. They could do punting too.