Saturday, July 01, 2006

Weight Watching

Well this post is probably going to be a little bit controversial. Seeing as I spend a lot of my time with Doctors and medical people in general I am always interested in facts and figures pertaining to how they spend the money allocated to them by the government, especially considering the total mess the NHS is currently in. I was astounded to read in The Telegraph yesterday that obesity-related conditions are costing the NHS a massive £1 billion a year, which as the proportion of obese people in the population increases is only going to get worse. Sadly a large proportion of children are overweight- nearly half of teenage girls and a third of boys are overweight or obese. Its unfortunate but a child with one obese parent has a 40% likelihood of being obese which doubles if both are obese.

Now this is where I am going to start putting peoples noses out of joint, it is common knowledge that being overweight is unhealthy, its the second most dangerous thing you can be healthwise, other than being a smoker, and yet thousands of people are still eating unhealthily, taking noexercisee and as a result developing diabetes, heart disease and any number of other diseases. I find this completely selfish and irresponsible. Some hospitals have recently started refusing to treat smokers, or put them on the transplant list if they refuse to stop smoking (seems obvious to me!), and whilst I am not saying that people should not be given necessary treatment they should be actively encouraged to change their lifestyle and become less of a burden on an already over taxed health service. The majority of people need not be over weight if they would change their lifestyle and eating habits.

I also strongly object to the vast amount of money spent on developing so called slimming drugs- what is wrong with healthy eating and exercise??? Yes its tough but it does work. Whilst I am fully aware that there are a small number of people with a genetic pre-disposition to obesity as shown by the discovery of the obesity gene GAD2, and that external factors such as depression, stress and so on can cause over eating, we are in serious danger of turning being over weight into an illness, somethingg that people cannot help. I find it hard to take that for want of a better description 'real illnesses' that people cannot help having are loosing out, both in terms of funding and of beds that are being taken up by weight related diseases. To an extent these obesity-related diseases are self inflicted as people do have a choice as to what they eat and how they live, just as smokers can choose to smoke, why should the rest of us fund their selfish habits? Just think about the number of cancer or children's wards, not to mention research into illnesses like Parkinson's, Alzheimers, Asthma, Multiple Sclerosis and yes my own personal cause Cystic Fibrosis..... its staggering the differencee that money could make to so many peoples lives that have been blighted through no fault of their own.

This is not in anyway an attack on anyone and I do not want to insult anyone or suggest that loosing weight is easy- believe me its just as hard to put weight on and keep it on when you have CF. I am also not suggesting what the paper called a 'fat tax'. I am simply stating my opinion that people should take better care of themselves and especially their children and in the process save the NHS a lots of money and themselves a lot of ill health.

Before anyone asks I am a size 10, this is mainly due to my CF as I do not absorb fat properly but believe me if I had the choice between being (a) thin and having CF, or (b) having to exercise and eat healthily and not having Cf I would take (b) every time- so please no comments along the line of you don't know what its like/ its easy for you, you are this etc etc. cos trust me I know what its like struggling with food and its never easy having CF.

1 comment:

coolbritanja said...

I actually agree with you entirely on the issue! I was reading an article recently on obesity and Neil and I were discussing the growing problems in this country and pretty much had the same feelings as you! I'm skinny but it's very much because of my lifestyle -- I rollerblade everywhere I go, dance a lot and eat very healthily. I'm always surprised at the amount of junk I see some of my colleagues eat and how lazy people seem to be, taking public transportation for walkable distances and lifts up just one or two floors. It's sad how lazy and lethargic people have become and how little people try to take care of their health and their bodies. And as you said, it is our business because they're taking up valuable NHS money and hospital beds which should be going to people who can't help the ailments they have.