Calorie Counter

Message Boards Debate: Health and Fitness
You are currently viewing the message boards in:

UK government obesity strategy

12346

Replies

  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,063 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,063 Member
    sofrances wrote: »
    Calorie counts on restaurant menus would be great for me personally, although they would have to be accurate. I hope it applies to takeaway menus too (I haven't had a takeaway in years, but many do). If I can calorie count every meal, then I don't think its onerous for even small restaurants to do it.

    That said, I got fat on my own home cooking (mostly), so I don't think its all about processed and restaurant food.

    It's all very well to encourage cycling, but the UK desperately needs more and better cycle paths.

    I'm disappointed that there wasn't more about funding obesity research. I'm not 100% sure we have the full story of what has changed in the last 50 years to create this epidemic. And I would like to see more money for research into the microbiome, therapies that could mimic some of the apparent hormonal effects of bariatrics surgery without the surgery (or with less drastic surgery) etc.

    I think the obvious common sense factors are more than adequate to explain the "epidemic", speaking as someone who's been alive during that 50 years, and adult for the overwhelming majority of it. (50 years ago, I was 14.)

    Occam's razor is a good tool.

    I think many people would like to find a subtle explanation in food additives, epigenetics, gut microbiome, or some other such interesting thing. I'm not saying none of those things could have an effect on humans, because they clearly do. But we don't need those to explain the phenomenon.

    Funding research is good, though.
    Let's be honest, living healthily can take a lot of time - exercise and meal prep especially. For that we need to work less. The sooner the robots come and take all of our jobs, the better. But I think all UK political parties are wedded to an ideology of "hard work".

    Overall, I don't know what it will take for a country to really turn back the obesity epidemic. No country has done it yet, as far as I know. I suspect that we need to re-evaluate our libertarianism to create an environment that is conducive to weight stability - either that or accept that the problem is going to get worse and worse at a population level. Liberty is important, but some liberties (voting, free speech, etc.) are more important than others, and the fundamental truth is that our brains did not evolve for an environment of abundant, calorie dense, hyper-palatable processed foods that can be obtained without physical effort.

    I disagree with you about the politics of it, too, for reasons that have nothing to do with flag-waving libertarianism. I don't really have the energy or desire to get into it. Suffice to say that I think governments generally get poor results (often at high cost) trying to strong-arm solutions to many/most social/cultural problems. More useful to seek trigger actions that lead to tipping points, but that's not easy.

    A complicating factor is that I don't think "we" want an end to obesity.

    Sure, a relatively small group of well-meaning technocrats want that, plus some (presumably) thin people (for example, like those in this thread who don't want to pay for others' obesity-related health problems), maybe a few other sub-groups. Most people, I suspect, are literally fat and happy (I was) or (based on people I actually know who are overweight/obese, have been for a long time, say they don't want to be) want there to be a pill or some other pretty-easy thing that works (say they've tried diets multiple times, find they don't work).

    I'm sorry that your work makes time so short for you that it's a complicating factor in weight management. I've had periods in my life where working 70-80 hours a week was happening, and life became pretty much work and sleep. It's hard, and stressful. Also, I know some may have shorter work weeks but other non-negotiable time demands (young children, elder care, etc.)

    But I don't think that's the common explanation. Exercise is helpful, but optional. Eating less is not time-consuming, and (here at least) there are time-efficient and potentially satiating foods available at non-ridiculous prices. Besides, I think Theoldguy1 is right, on the statistical averages: A lot of people have time for exercise, but they're choosing other ways to spend their discretionary time. There are a lot of choices embedded in this whole scenario. Emotionally, psychologically, socially, I completely understand why people might be making comforting, pleasant, norm-driven choices. Still choices, though.
  • sofrancessofrances Member, Premium Posts: 136 Member Member, Premium Posts: 136 Member
    Agree to disagree, I guess. I don't think governments are perfect but I think they are the only entities with the power to do what's needed, whether that's "tipping points" or "strong arming".

    I used to be a libertarian of sorts. I loved to quote John Stuart Mill at people. But while intellectually and emotionally appealing, I think what we are seeing is that it just doesn't work.

    I think there is a tendency to want to make this all about individuals. Government policy isn't about individuals "choices" though. People in general didn't become worse decision makers in the past 50 years. The environment in which they made those choices changed. The state is only entity with the power to change this environment in a deliberate way to make things better.

    We may not want to solve it now, but there will come a point where, if current trends continue, the scale of the problem will become completely unmanageable.

    It doesn't have to be strong arming, either. It could be things like tax incentives for companies to install standing or treadmill desks. But more than anything I would like to see more funding for scientific research into obesity and treatments for it. I think an "easy" way out would be great, if we could find it - I don't have any moral qualms with people wanting the process to be less horrible, if that could be safely achieved.

    For the record I actually don't work crazy hours. If I did work 70-80 hours I very much doubt I would have lost any weight at all. Anyone who does manage to lose weight and keep it off in those circumstances, I take my hat off to you.

    Anyway, I don't come here for politics, so I'm going to shut up for a bit now. I may be wrong, I may be right. I just hope I live long enough to see this ship turned around, however that ends up happening. I dont want to live in a Wall-E future.
    edited August 16
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,303 Member Member Posts: 24,303 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    freda78 wrote: »
    cgvet37 wrote: »
    steveko89 wrote: »
    I can't speak to UK culture but we're seeing a prime example of a "don't try to tell me what to do/how to live" attitude in the US right now as it pertains to COVID guidelines.

    Last I checked I'm free to eat what I want. Maybe you would prefer a Socialist Country

    Socialist countries do not tell you what to eat either.

    But there is much higher potential for them to decree what is produced and/or imported so indirectly they do.

    In the US, we have all sorts of restrictions on what can be produced and imported. This is something all kinds of governments do, not a special feature of socialism.

    Have you tried to import something into the US without governmental approval? Even as a private citizen with no intent to resell or distribute, we don't have the freedom to bring whatever we want into the country.

    Of course in the US we have restrictions Note my original comment (especially the bolded on more socialistic countries vs the US.

    "But there is much higher potential for them to decree what is produced and/or imported so indirectly they do."

    What is this based on?
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,405 Member Member Posts: 1,405 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    freda78 wrote: »
    cgvet37 wrote: »
    steveko89 wrote: »
    I can't speak to UK culture but we're seeing a prime example of a "don't try to tell me what to do/how to live" attitude in the US right now as it pertains to COVID guidelines.

    Last I checked I'm free to eat what I want. Maybe you would prefer a Socialist Country

    Socialist countries do not tell you what to eat either.

    But there is much higher potential for them to decree what is produced and/or imported so indirectly they do.

    In the US, we have all sorts of restrictions on what can be produced and imported. This is something all kinds of governments do, not a special feature of socialism.

    Have you tried to import something into the US without governmental approval? Even as a private citizen with no intent to resell or distribute, we don't have the freedom to bring whatever we want into the country.

    Of course in the US we have restrictions Note my original comment (especially the bolded on more socialistic countries vs the US.

    "But there is much higher potential for them to decree what is produced and/or imported so indirectly they do."

    What is this based on?

    A description of the characteristics of socialism:

    Economic Planning

    Unlike in a capitalist economy, a socialist economy is not driven by the laws of supply and demand. Instead, all economic activities – production, distribution, exchange and consumption – are planned and coordinated by a central planning authority, which is usually the government.

    A socialist economy relies on the central planning authority for distribution of wealth, instead of relying on market forces.

    https://www.cleverism.com/socialism-characteristics-pros-cons-examples-and-types/
    edited August 17
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,303 Member Member Posts: 24,303 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    freda78 wrote: »
    cgvet37 wrote: »
    steveko89 wrote: »
    I can't speak to UK culture but we're seeing a prime example of a "don't try to tell me what to do/how to live" attitude in the US right now as it pertains to COVID guidelines.

    Last I checked I'm free to eat what I want. Maybe you would prefer a Socialist Country

    Socialist countries do not tell you what to eat either.

    But there is much higher potential for them to decree what is produced and/or imported so indirectly they do.

    In the US, we have all sorts of restrictions on what can be produced and imported. This is something all kinds of governments do, not a special feature of socialism.

    Have you tried to import something into the US without governmental approval? Even as a private citizen with no intent to resell or distribute, we don't have the freedom to bring whatever we want into the country.

    Of course in the US we have restrictions Note my original comment (especially the bolded on more socialistic countries vs the US.

    "But there is much higher potential for them to decree what is produced and/or imported so indirectly they do."

    What is this based on?

    A description of the characteristics of socialism:

    Economic Planning

    Unlike in a capitalist economy, a socialist economy is not driven by the laws of supply and demand. Instead, all economic activities – production, distribution, exchange and consumption – are planned and coordinated by a central planning authority, which is usually the government.

    A socialist economy relies on the central planning authority for distribution of wealth, instead of relying on market forces.

    https://www.cleverism.com/socialism-characteristics-pros-cons-examples-and-types/

    Other than this relatively entry-level blog post, is there evidence to actually bear out the claim? I understand the opinion of the author, but I'm not really seeing any data here. That's what I meant when I asked what this was based on, as we clearly have a wide variety of restrictions on what can be imported, exported, purchased, and owned in the US.
  • FuzzipegFuzzipeg Member Posts: 2,006 Member Member Posts: 2,006 Member
    Possibly Authoritarian might be a better word. Many countries have an authoritarian bias these days, some take it further than others. I'm interested to know what this Socialist - Communist - Dictatorship line has to do with the UK's government obesity strategy though.
  • Fit_Chef_NEFit_Chef_NE Member Posts: 108 Member Member Posts: 108 Member
    We have this where I live in the US and I love it. It means I don't have to do extensive research on places in town before I feel safe ordering within my macros. I have seen it trigger the "fat positivity" types, but honestly, I think they need a reality check anyway.
  • FuzzipegFuzzipeg Member Posts: 2,006 Member Member Posts: 2,006 Member
    The government has been very quiet on this one. The PM is on holiday believed to be in a tent by a Scottish cottage he ha taken for the event. Now will he have lost any weight when he gets home?
  • freda78freda78 Member Posts: 220 Member Member Posts: 220 Member
    Fuzzipeg wrote: »
    Possibly Authoritarian might be a better word. Many countries have an authoritarian bias these days, some take it further than others. I'm interested to know what this Socialist - Communist - Dictatorship line has to do with the UK's government obesity strategy though.

    If you read back the thread you will see that someone asserted that socialists tell people what to eat. :D
  • knowlekaknowleka Member Posts: 16 Member Member Posts: 16 Member
    watts6151 wrote: »
    Most uk GP’s haven’t a clue on nutrition

    I went in with a raised ALT liver reading
    The Dr informed me to cut my saturated fat
    While stuffing his face with a bag of walkers crisps. When I pointed out my total fats are .75grams per kilo of body weight he seemed totally lost.

    Only then did he check my bp which he said was perfect. Don’t think he appreciated me pointing out the amount of sat fat in his crisps

    I agree with GP comment, i once had an appointment at 830am and the Dr was drinking coke!
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,303 Member Member Posts: 24,303 Member
    knowleka wrote: »
    watts6151 wrote: »
    Most uk GP’s haven’t a clue on nutrition

    I went in with a raised ALT liver reading
    The Dr informed me to cut my saturated fat
    While stuffing his face with a bag of walkers crisps. When I pointed out my total fats are .75grams per kilo of body weight he seemed totally lost.

    Only then did he check my bp which he said was perfect. Don’t think he appreciated me pointing out the amount of sat fat in his crisps

    I agree with GP comment, i once had an appointment at 830am and the Dr was drinking coke!

    Is it the time of day that was troubling you? I know several people who drink a coke in the AM because they like the caffeine but don't particularly care for coffee or tea.
  • cgvet37cgvet37 Member Posts: 1,185 Member Member Posts: 1,185 Member
    freda78 wrote: »
    Fuzzipeg wrote: »
    Possibly Authoritarian might be a better word. Many countries have an authoritarian bias these days, some take it further than others. I'm interested to know what this Socialist - Communist - Dictatorship line has to do with the UK's government obesity strategy though.

    If you read back the thread you will see that someone asserted that socialists tell people what to eat. :D

    You really need to study Venezuela. The Government controls the food supplies, so they control who eats, and what they eat.
  • lynn_glenmontlynn_glenmont Member Posts: 8,525 Member Member Posts: 8,525 Member
    freda78 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    freda78 wrote: »
    cgvet37 wrote: »
    steveko89 wrote: »
    I can't speak to UK culture but we're seeing a prime example of a "don't try to tell me what to do/how to live" attitude in the US right now as it pertains to COVID guidelines.

    Last I checked I'm free to eat what I want. Maybe you would prefer a Socialist Country

    Socialist countries do not tell you what to eat either.

    But there is much higher potential for them to decree what is produced and/or imported so indirectly they do.

    Perhaps but it depends on the country as, for example, state support is pretty much outlawed in EU member states but many of those member state are never-the-less "socialist".

    But that is hardly the same as telling the people what to eat.

    And of course even the USA bans foods, Kinder eggs and haggis being examples of that. :D

    Indeed -- the rules governing state aid to a specific company or industry in the EU seem to require actual review and waivers for any such action. In the U.S., all you have to have is enough money flowing from a given industry to the right politicians, and government aid isn't all that difficult to obtain. Look at sugar subsidies.
  • nooshi713nooshi713 Member Posts: 4,251 Member Member Posts: 4,251 Member
    Universal health care only works when the population is generally healthy. When the population as a whole is generally unhealthy then the costs become unsustainable. It is crucial for countries like the UK who have a rising obesity problem to nip this in the bud now or their health care system will collapse.
  • threewinsthreewins Member Posts: 766 Member Member Posts: 766 Member
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    Universal health care only works when the population is generally healthy. When the population as a whole is generally unhealthy then the costs become unsustainable. It is crucial for countries like the UK who have a rising obesity problem to nip this in the bud now or their health care system will collapse.

    Not sure where you get your information about the costs of obesity. As a guesstimate, the cost of obesity is roughly 5% of the total government health budget in my country with taxpayer funded health care. Also health care systems don't "collapse", they slowly reduce services over decades.
  • lynn_glenmontlynn_glenmont Member Posts: 8,525 Member Member Posts: 8,525 Member
    nooshi713 wrote: »
    Universal health care only works when the population is generally healthy. When the population as a whole is generally unhealthy then the costs become unsustainable. It is crucial for countries like the UK who have a rising obesity problem to nip this in the bud now or their health care system will collapse.

    Do you have any data for this? Obesity increases death in the 50s and 60s from heart attack and stroke -- after someone has made the majority of their lifetime contribution to society both in terms of workforce productivity and tax payments, but saves society the very high costs of care in assisted living, nursing home, and end-of-life care that can be thousands of dollars a month, month-after-month, for several years, even for people without any serious health issues beyond frailty or mild cognitive issues that mean they can't live independently. That's often capped by days, weeks, or months of extremely costly efforts to maintain life in someone who may have little to no chance of ever being able to leave the hospital.
  • thelastnightingalethelastnightingale Member, Premium Posts: 417 Member Member, Premium Posts: 417 Member
    For me, working from home throughout this pandemic has been a game changer. I literally didn't have time to look after myself before - if you're in a certain type of job, you get sucked in. The long hours and the long commute sap your time during the week, and your energy on the weekend. They also mess with your appetite regulation.

    Saving on the commute doesn't just save on the time of the commute - you feel happier overall not having spent hours with your face in some bloke's armpit, less gross, and you don't have to recover from the stress of fighting to get on a train.

    Having the flexibility to stop when I'm hungry (rather than when the local sandwich shops aren't busy) and to eat prepped home cooked meals is a revelation. If I have to do overtime, I can break for dinner, then carry on. I don't have to work through the evening then grab any old junk just before bed. I can still keep up a food routine even when my work routine has to flex.

    I think a lot of employers in the UK are considering more working from home arrangements - even if just a few days a week - and that I think is what may give people the opportunity to take control of their health. I feel like work has been gradually killing me for years with the effect on my weight, my sleep and my stress - doing the same job, but from home, has really changed everything. There are some added fringe benefits like not wearing heels (no one can see those on a video call) - my feet are delighted, and so is my back.

    Ideally, I'd never go back to the office again. Practically, once we're through winter and advice changes, I think I'll probably comprise with 3 days in the office and 2 at home.
  • spyro88spyro88 Member Posts: 388 Member Member Posts: 388 Member
    @thelastnightingale Well said! Working from home has brought so much benefit for me, too, physically and mentally. Having cut out my hour long daily commute, I can prioritise my health a lot more easily now and I have more time, energy and willpower to do so.

    I wonder if it will make a sustained difference to many people... I hope so.
    edited September 26
  • thelastnightingalethelastnightingale Member, Premium Posts: 417 Member Member, Premium Posts: 417 Member
    @spyro88 I honestly didn't think it would - I had never advocated home-working before. But despite having one of the hardest years of my life, I'm also on track to get into the best shape of my life.

    Sure, I've been lighter and fitter (and younger!) before, and I've been in a better place mentally before. However, this is the first time in my life I've genuinely treated my own health as a priority. That in itself is huge. Covid has finally made me realise being obese/overweight does carries an unacceptable level of risk, and that personal happiness is important.

    I do also wonder how many other people are in the same position and who have managed to turn things around simply due to cutting out the commute. We've always seen 40 hour plus working weeks as normal in this country (with much longer weeks for certain professions), but we've never really considered how much time we really dedicate to work. Most people don't get paid for their commute, but it's still 'work-related' time we carve out of our days. Add in the skipped lunch breaks, a bit more extra unpaid overtime, maybe a bit of presenteeism competitiveness...

    We did this to ourselves. Thankfully, we're now beginning to realise that, and to reclaim some balance.
Sign In or Register to comment.