.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A weight on their mind

The Conservative Party's summer offensive has centred on obesity and how they are the party to deal with people's excesses. They are adamant however, that they will do so without resorting to a 'nanny state'. They will just lecture us instead.

Recess Monkey has already highlighted the Tories' inconsistencies on this matter by rather cruelly pointing out that their fairly hefty front bench is failing to lead by example, but there are other mixed messages as well.

For example in today's Western Mail there is a report that a future Tory Government will drop the “traffic light” labelling of fatty and sugary foods. Instead they will offer people a system based on so-called GDAs, or Guideline Daily Amounts, of salt, sugar, fat and so on. So far so non-understandable. You cannot influence a free market if people do not have clear and easily understood information to base their choices on. The traffic light system is far from ideal, largely because it has not gained acceptance with supermarkets, but at least it has the potential to enable people to decide for themselves.

Worse is to come. Today's Times reports that under the Tories obese children will be exposed to “positive peer pressure” to encourage them to lose weight. So now they are encouraging playground bullying? I do not think this approach is going to find much favour with parents and childrens' campaigners.

It seems that the Tories have found a problem, highlighted it so as to get publicity in the silly season but failed to think through how they will solve it. This does not bode well for a future Conservative Government.
I think the GB map shown on Page 7 of this days edition of the WM is of more concern.

The GB map show's the various counties in Wales, England and Scotland, with these counties being shaded, Red, Pink, Burnt Umber, Pale Green, Dark Green; going from High Obesity to Low Obesity (R to G)

Large areas of Wales were either Red or Pink, exceptions being Swansea and Cardiff.

Some isolated areas of England showed "Red", specifically around the North East. In Scotland, the Outer Hebridies were Red.

The Redness covering Wales stuck out like a Blind Cobbler's Thumb.

Around this corner of South Wales, the rates of obesity (BMI >30) were as follows:

Swansea: 8%
Neath PT: 11.9%
Bridgend: 9.5%
Merthyr Tydfil: 10.6%
RCT: 11.1%
Vale of Glam: 8.7%
Cardiff 7.4%
Blaenau Gwent: 12.5% (one in Eight)
Carphilly: 11.1%
Torfaen: 13.9% (one in Seven)

The question is what's WAG going to do about it?
This is just not WAG, many of the powers needed still reside with Westminster, such as labelling of food etc. But let's not pass the buck here. Individuals have a responsibility for their own health and well-being as well. We should not automatically assume that it is Government's role to solve every problem. Ministers can make a difference in terms of education and provision of facilities but ultimately it is the people concerned who have to make the choices that matter.
Why is Wales so "Fat" while places like the Home Counties have lower rates of Obesity?

I'm sure if we overlayed a similar map of social deprevation we would find a close corrilation.

While I appreciate your comments about individuals having responsibility for their own health and wellbeing; education is the key here! The likes of NPHS (National Public Health Service) also has an important role in educating the masses and health is a devolved funcion.

Additionally, fresh fruit and veg is expensive, those on low incomes can't afford fresh fruit and veg and therefore opt for the cheaper option which often contains high levels of saturate fats and added salt. Hence my comments about the link between Deprevation and Obesity.

The best thing that's happened for Women's health in this part of South Wales has been the introduction by a private company of the various "Curves" gyms that have sprung up around the place, it's doing wonders for the women who go there, why couldn't WAG have come up with this?
Obesity Hotspots:

Shetland - 15.5%
Torfaen - 13.9%
Blaenau Gwent - 12.5%
Neath - 11.9%
Caerphilly - 11.1%
Rhondda - 11.1
Barnsley - 10.8%
Wrexham - 10.8%
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?