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October 17, 2007

British Scientists: Obesity Not Fault Of Individuals, But Rather Of "Obesogenic Society"

In a way, I actually think they're sort of right. Because nutritionists and scientists have no real answers to curing obesity. Or at least most don't.

I dunno. I don't think that the morbidly obese like being so, and if there were a good way to avoid it I think they would.

Still, I fall back into my usual take on the "individual responsibility" question: even if it is true that external, or genetic factors, largely influence the way one behaves, we must act as if individual responsibility cures all. Because without the sense of individual responsibility nothing can be fixed. As they say in logic, individual responsibility is a necessary but not sufficient condition for curing any personal woe. Alone it might not be enough, but without out it nothing is enough.

Anyway:

Individuals can no longer be held responsible for obesity and government must act to stop Britain "sleepwalking" into a crisis, a report has concluded.

The largest ever UK study into obesity, backed by government and compiled by 250 experts, said excess weight was now the norm in our "obesogenic" society.

Dramatic and comprehensive action was required to stop the majority of us becoming obese by 2050, they said.

Apparently this dramatic and comprehensive action will not involve individual choices, however. So who will stop obesity?

Well, this is Britain. Who do you think?

The government pledged to draw up a strategy to address the issue.

But the report authors admitted proof that any anti-obesity policy worked "was scant".


...

Obesity, the authors concluded, was an inevitable consequence of a society in which energy-dense and cheap foods, labour-saving devices, motorised transport and sedentary work were rife.

Hm. The largest British study of obesity, eveh, has determined fatness is due to too much food and too little exercise. And to think they gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore.

Dr Susan Jebb of the Medical Research Council said that in this environment, it was surprising that anyone was able to remain thin, and so the notion of obesity simply being a product of personal over-indulgence had to be abandoned for good.

"The stress has been on the individual choosing a healthier lifestyle, but that simply isn't enough," she said.

From planning our towns to encourage more physical activity to placing more pressure on mothers to breast feed - believed to slow down infant weight gain - the report highlighted a range of policy options without making any concrete recommendations.

Another surprise.

...

But Sir David said it was clear that government needed to involve itself, as on this occasion, the market was failing to do the job.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson described the report as "nothing, if not challenging" and said a national debate was needed about the best way forward.

He said a cross-government strategy would be developed to respond to the challenge of obesity.

National debates and cross-government strategies -- is there anything they can't solve?

Eh, you know my opinion.


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posted by Ace at 05:13 PM

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