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Should the government take a firmer stance on obesity?

It’s Obesity Awareness Week – a campaign that aims to help improve the nation’s health by raising awareness and encouraging people to eat more healthily and be more physically active.

Obesity is now considered a public health crisis – nearly two-thirds of adults in England  (that’s 63%) are classed as overweight or obese.

It’s not simply a problem with adults – research shows younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying that way into adulthood.

28% of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese.

In the UK, we spend more each year on the treatment of obesity and diabetes than we do on the police, fire service and judicial system combined.

It costs wider society £27 billion, and to the NHS it represents a £6.1 billion burden treating overweight and obesity related ill-health.

The obesity epidemic isn’t simply a personal problem – it’s the cause of a compound number of factors that include nutritional misinformation, ready access to cheap processed foods and a growing workforce that spends eight hours a day sitting behind a desk.

How to tackle obesity is a complex question. Despite the fact that a huge chunk of society is currently overweight, the messages around obesity can be shaming, damaging and unhelpful.

Many people are now calling on the government to take a firmer stance on obesity to help manage the cost. Either through better educational programs, tougher legislation on sugar, and better support for those who need to lose weight.

Others believe the huge emphasis on obesity is unnecessary – like smoking and drinking, people should be made aware of the risks and free to make their own decisions.

What do you think? Should the government take a firmer stance on obesity? Or is the choice to lose weight personal and one that should be left to the individual?

 

 

Should the government take a firmer stance on obesity?

138 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Catrina700
13th Mar 2018
0
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I don't feel it's the governments job to dictate how people should run their lives, each individual should be responsible enough to do that for themselves.

When I look back to my parents lifestyle and compare it with people of today, it's not difficult to see why people are overweight. Far more money to spend on food they shouldn't be eating, and far more time to be driving around in cars instead of walking.

Many that do walk don't walk far enough or fast enough to burn off any calories, slow sluggish and lethargic. You see it everywhere. People seem to ignore the fact they are putting on weight before doing something about it. By then it's made more difficult.
Barton babe
9th Mar 2018
0
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It's a bit late now to be thinking about obesity, The government should have done this 30 years ago. Should have stopped all this rubbish food from being marketed.
Darkstar
15th Feb 2018
0
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I don't really think it's the governments job. People should take more care of their own health. Obviously if you eat too much you get fat. I was looking at an old video from the late sixties and no one was overweight. So what has gone wrong ?
iestynlad
9th Feb 2018
0
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WE can't support all these fat people on the NHS when people who have looked after their health can't get treatment for problems that are not self inflicted
viking
29th Jan 2018
0
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This [or any other] government is not capable of joined up thinking as usual.
Ministers know in their heart of hearts that they may just serve one term in a cabinet position, so if they backslide for their term in office, it will then be the problem for the next holder of the poison chalice.

Wake up, it is costing the NHS so much money in caring for the obese and subsequent health problems, the national debt could be wiped off quickly, if they could get a grip, and tackle the food!? manufacturers.
Darkstar
26th Jan 2018
0
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If you are buying larger sized clothing all the time, i think alarm bells should start ringing.
Calli
19th Jan 2018
1
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How much hand holding should a government have to do? We are free to make our own choices, and at some point we have to take responsibility for those choices. No one forces people to drink Coca-Cola, or eat greasy fried foods, or to purchase foods that contain fructose or other ingredients that you cannot even pronounce. All that people have to say is no thank you! People need to hold themselves accountable for what goes into shopping carts, and by extension their bodies. I agree that parents have a responsibility to teach their children about healthy foods. But what happens when those children grow up and make decisions for themselves? No easy answers, only questions and more questions.
SueC62
18th Jan 2018
1
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The way it should be tackled is by ensuring that nutrition is taught in schools so that people grow up understanding about a balanced diet. Employers (and schools?) in their canteens/restaurants should show responsibility instead of maximising profits - pizza slice with garlic bread?? Carbs with carbs!

We should all still be able to have our treats. I try to balance so, for example, if I have a big cream make, counter it with a salad with little or no carbs
viking
18th Jan 2018
0
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Wow Yoddy that really will put the cat amongst the pidgeons !

For many years now, any accumulated brake dust on the wheels of my car is cleaned off very quickly by an application of Coca Cola [ I certainly would not drink the stuff ], with the proviso that it is washed off at once with clean water.
Looking through the results of the poll so far it really looks like a chicken and egg situation, so much for a free vote !!!
Yodama
18th Jan 2018
0
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Coke makes a good job of cleaning the toilet too.
Time to point fingers in the right direction. The Japanese were never an obese nation, now they are having a huge problem..why? Because they have started to consume Western food lace with Fructose.
This is THE PERFECT STORM.
Yodama
17th Jan 2018
0
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GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO CONTROL THE GIGANTIC CORPORATIONS SUCH AS COCA COLA....
NOT THE PEOPLE.

FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP- POISON IN PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING YOU EAT.
NO IT'S NOT THE FAT.

Giant Corporations are too powerful and are killing the worlds populations.

IN 1975 HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP WAS INTRODUCED TO THE FOOD CHAIN.
STUDIES IN DIABETES SHOW:
Sucrose ( ordinary sugar) has a sweetness of 100
Fructose has a sweetness of 150
CRYSTALS HAVE BEEN ADDED TO MAKE LAB CRYSTALLINE FRUCTOSE ..( sweetness level of 173) and is MUCH CHEAPER TO PRODUCE. This is added to just about everything you eat or drink. High in soft drinks such as Coca Cola. Coke which has a high content of salt, the high volumes of added fructose are an attempt to disguise the salt. What happens when you have too much salt.....you feel THIRSTY.
It is hidden in millions of products:
Hamburger buns
Bread....yes your everyday staple.
Cereals
Ketchups
BBQ sauces
Pretzels
Processed foods........just about anything you eat has it added.

THE CORN EXCHANGE REFINERS ASSOCIATION OF DEC 2006:
IN OBESITY RESEARCH shows High Fructose Corn Syrup metabolises and impacts high satiety similar to sugar. It is addictive.
FRUCTOSE IS A DANGEROUS POISON AND NOTHING TO DO WITH CALORIES.
Excessive consumption leads to health problems, particularly in damaging the liver in exactly the same way as alcohol does.

Prior to WW11, our fructose was obtained through fruit and veg and we consumed 16-24g per day.
Today we are consuming over 72.8g per day, mostly hidden in everyday foods which don't need it to be added.

GOVERNMENT IS NOT ONLY LAX in preventing this blatant overuse of Fructose poison, it is CRIMINAL in allowing it to go on unchecked. For a large part, they are responsible for Obesity.
Why are they suggesting we pay more in taxes for a tin of Coca Cola or other soft drinks when the culprits are let off Scott free?

WE THE PEOPLE MUST SPEAK OUT TO STOP THE USE OF THIS POISON BEING ADDED TO ALL OUR FOODSTUFFS.
Apart from that, forests are being demolished to plant palm specifically for this purpose.
Obese people must be aware of these sugars, check labels, go back to basics.

It is after all our elected government, we have the right to demand changes. There is too much back scratching exchanged in the upper echelons of power, it must stop!
YES THIS MAKES ME VERY ANGRY!!
iestynlad
9th Feb 2018
0
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People aren't forced to buy these products at gunpoint are they!
viking
17th Jan 2018
1
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What is tipped down and how much goes into the gut is down to the individual - no one else, young or old.
However the actual composition of the food or snacks, could be regulated by the government ie., less salt/fat content.

But see my previous observation. They might just tickle the problem, but that will be all they might perhaps/possibly/maybe do something.
Jo Kingham
17th Jan 2018
1
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We are a nation of overweight people and it pains me to see so many of our children overweight - there is no-one to blame for this other than the parents. Parents decide what their children eat and should be encouraging healthy diets balanced with exercise. There is no excuse for any child to be overweight - parents should be far more responsible in looking after their children and of course themselves. Too easy to blame lifestyle, pressures of working, balancing busy lives etc, It takes no time at all to make healthy nutritious meals and avoid the junk and processed rubbish that is slowly killing us all. The trouble is healthy foods aren't necessarily the cheapest so perhaps this is where the government could step in and try and reverse that trend. After all it well save them money in the long run.
Munsterlander
17th Jan 2018
4
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People should eat less and excercise more=simples. Its not up to the government to sort this out and in fact looking at a lot of the right honerable members it seems many of them could follow these simple rules of eating less and exercising more.
scandiman
16th Jan 2018
4
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In my High St in East Anglia, several banks have closed and we have eight charity shops. There are several burger bars, KFC and a small van selling burgers and hotdogs. One of the former banks is going to be McDonalds. No one forces people to eat in these places. Some may have health reasons for being overweight, but it is my observation that some are lazy, do no exercise and expect NHS to help them when they suffer the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. 50 years ago you rarely saw anyone overweight or obese. Now it’s commonplace.
Munsterlander
17th Jan 2018
0
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I think one problem is that these junk foods are so cheap and in cases like Mcdonalds very tasty but you can have self restraint.
Wilf
15th Jan 2018
4
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I do not think the nanny state should intervene on everything but government should legislate for less sugar-raise taxes on junk food...subsidise vegetables and fruit (it could help our farmers!) and subsidise games and sport even more. The quid pro que is the NHS would have less costs as less people hopefully would have obesity caused diseases
Pam1960
14th Jan 2018
4
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At the end of the day it is each individuals responsibility to control their weight. I am overweight, no one forced me to eat takeaways, chocolate and crisps in large quantities. I have been dieting lost 2 stone with 4 more to go. I blame my weak will in the past to sheer laziness, couldn't be bothered to cook after a long day at work much easier to snack and bit am I suffering for it now. Why is there a need for chocolate manufacturer's to make so many large bars or family bars of chocolate why can't they just stick to smaller individual bars. J know everyone will say it is down to self discipline but if we're a child would you rather buy a small bar if chocolate for 70p or a large family bar or bag for £1. I say scrap large bags and bars and offers on junk food
hillierjv
13th Jan 2018
3
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It is far too complicated an issue to say it is wholly self-inflicted which is what 'thin' people frequently say. Fighting obesity is an emotional, physical and psychological battle which many fight all their lives and there is still precious little help available. Slimming Clubs rarely work - if they did, why do so many keep going back to them?
jeanmark
15th Jan 2018
2
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I agree with with what you have said hillierjv, but both Slimming World and Weight Watchers have a good track record for individuals losing weight and maintaining it. Both accept people have busy lives and try to titrate an individual's diet to take account of this. At the end of the day, these clubs can only help and support an individual, and try to make them understanding that changing diet is a life long commitment. Too many people lose the weight and then revert to their original diet. But I so agree that people are so quick to criticise an individual without truly understanding the path they may have to walk.
Irene88
12th Jan 2018
3
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If you eat too much you get fat. It's not rocket science. Parents are to blame. Most schools teach healthy eating but the kids don't do the shopping! (I did teach it in school before I retired - so I am going back to around 2006 - 20014
shrew1742
12th Jan 2018
3
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I would hazard a guess that the majority of obesity is self inflicted
by over-eating, laziness and a lack of will power. I feel sorry for obese people with a 'genuine' medical problem though. I don't really know what the best answer is, but why for goodness sake can't extremely overweight people see the damage they are doing to themselves when they look in the mirror.......... and do something about ??
ginntonic
12th Jan 2018
6
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This is a personal health issue not a government issue.
viking
12th Jan 2018
4
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It's very unlikely that the government would legislate to make the food manufacturers toe the line and really cut out the so called snacking "foods" etc. If readers watch this scenario unfold you will be able to see the government tickle the problem in some way or other.
Why only tickle?? Because the government do not wish to antagonise this industry [ or banks] because when an MP loses their seat at the next election, yes you have guessed correctly ! A seat on the board of a food company { or bank ] will be given to certain individuals as a reward for being lenient towards them.
jeanmark
14th Jan 2018
3
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You don't need the government to legislate, just stop buying the products and the companies will stop making them. Why are we expecting the government to be responsible for all aspects of our lives and then condemn them when they try?

As adults, we have to take some responsibility for our health and snacks are just that, a small amount of food eaten between meals. That would include things like fruit. Not all snacks are unhealthy and some people have to go long periods without a meal and snacks can help. There will always be people who don't understand the term 'moderation' and maybe in order to account for these, we should ensure the government legislates against such things as alcohol as well!
MaureenO8
12th Jan 2018
5
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It's not about a nanny state. It's about provision and access.
Many people, particularly young parents, are short of both time and money these days. This makes it difficult or even impossible for them to afford healthy foods and make time for exercise for themselves and their children.
If healthy living was made cheaper and more easily accessible then everybody would have the possibility of a healthy lifestyle choice.
In my opinion, we have to look realistically at ordinary people's lives and make change as easy as possible if we want it to happen.
Irene88
12th Jan 2018
3
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Healthy eating isn't expensive , basic cooking is easy - crisps, biscuits, sweets, pop are luxuries that make people fat!

Perhaps they should spend less time looking at phones, tV, games etc and be a bit more active then they would benefit.
Wilf
15th Jan 2018
2
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Yes but all this inactivity I think is a sign of the times...with all the technology etc lots of kids would rather just chill on their gadgets and not be out playing games etc
Wilf
15th Jan 2018
1
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I agree-governemnt needs to look at lifestyles and help promote really healthy living. More games at school. More open green spaces in cities andincentives to keep fit.. make vegetables and fruit cheaper and junk food much more expensive with taxs
MaureenO8
12th Jan 2018
3
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Legislation re limits on hidden sugars and sugar substitutes in so many processed foods.
Legal requirement that all workers take one hour's lunch break daily and facility for exercise during this time.
Cheaper fresh and healthy foods.
Provision for safe bicycling.
Free gym/swimming access.
jeanmark
13th Jan 2018
2
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Maureen08, I agree legislation with regard to hidden sugars etc. but there are already legal requirements in relation too the length of time you can work before taking a break. I'm not sure that your suggestion is totally possible. I worked in the NHS for 47 years and I can assure sometimes I, like many others, were lucky to get time for the loo, let alone an hours lunch break daily.
Theoldgirl
12th Jan 2018
4
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It’s up to the perents of these children, and adults should know what to eat, there are to many children are taken to a fast food outlets, for quickness, perents who can’t be bothered to cook a good meal.
JeanS5
12th Jan 2018
7
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We did not have this problem when I was growing up, mainly because we did not have money for extras and only had treats at Christmas. The shops did not sell the range of foods they do now, so it was rare to see an overweight child. The third reason, of course, was that we spent all our time playing outside to burn off the carbs. Our parents were not overweight because the money went to feed the children, plus, the work they did was manually intensive and we all walked everywhere.
We should not be relying on governments to curb our appetites. Instead it should be done through education, cutting the costs for swimming pools and providing safe areas for children to play outside. Overweight children become overweight adults.
Sara Hill
12th Jan 2018
2
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Yes. The Government should encourage food companies to cut down on sugar and fat content. Obesity costs the NHS so much as it causes ill health. More education is needed to show parents how to best feed their children healthily and cheaply as well. There are some good programmes on TV at the moment.
violetM
12th Jan 2018
5
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What another job for the government? Parents must educate and guide their children towards a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately a lot of fat adults have fat children. (Hope it’s OK to use the word fat). When you are an adult you know what you should do, but most ignore because they don’t want to address the problem. It’s easier and nice not to so let’s carry on eating what we want. I don’t know what the answer is, but surely not the government again.
Beavercaw
12th Jan 2018
1
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I take offence at some comments....some believe that all people that are overweight are couch potato's who sit and do nothing but eat too much....
Being overweight is not easy...not a path chosen by choice.
Many factors can cause a person to be overweight just think on that.
Irene88
12th Jan 2018
2
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There maybe few people who have medical problems that cause them to be overweight but majority is caused by overeating and lack of exercise. I have several friends who are in denial about thheir weight and are slowly killing themselves despite all the encouragement given tp them.
VictoriaB9
12th Jan 2018
2
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I believe that food production companies need encouragement from the Government to cut down on sugar, and unhealthy fat.
We need more prepared foods as more people are going into employment rather than stay at home having the time to cook, or physical impaired people need this. And to use recyclable plastic only.
Dennisb
12th Jan 2018
4
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It should be up to the parents to ensure their children are eating properly.
Wilf
15th Jan 2018
1
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Yes but some parents just do not care or are too busy working-its a tough one-maybe all kids should have school lunches again?
Alicia
12th Jan 2018
5
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Yes, people are killing themselves by over eating! Obesity is disgusting and some can't even walk which is their own fault. We pay for their state benefits.
NorfolkBroad
12th Jan 2018
9
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It is time that parents/families/individuals took back responsibility for themselves - instead of always relying/assuming the problem belongs to some one else. The role of parents is not to overindulge but to teach the difference between an occasional treat and a wrong lifestyle choice. Schools and the Government have enough to do without being responsible for taking on a parental role as well.
scandiman
12th Jan 2018
3
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For some it’s a medical condition, or due to steroid use. However, for the majority I suspect it’s simply a case of eating too much of the wrong food and insufficient exercise. The nanny State can’t do everything, people have to take responsibility. There’s a huge choice of food, with good quality ovens, grills, microwaves and freezers for storage and cooking. People have been advised what to do, so it’s up to them.
JackR
12th Jan 2018
5
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Don't want a nanny state. People should take responsibility for their own health. If they end up in hospital because of obesity they should make a contribution to the cost!!
Woottonm
11th Jan 2018
3
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Agree on Lionel's comments.
Lionel
11th Jan 2018
4
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I'm not in general in favour of any state interventions in personal lives and values. This matter is no exception. Too often state interference is not a means to a pre-defined end but merely an ongoing process over which all control is surrendered in despair.

As with the matter of plastic packaging, the State is wanting to tackle the wrong end of the stick. They will take the cowards way out and beat consumers over the head when, if intervention is going to happen, going to battle with Big Pharma, Big Farma and Big Food. Require of them that their processed food stuffs be of a substantially higher nutritional value, not laced with sugar and salt and excess fat. Greatly reduce advertising of these products and break the cult of MacDonalds.

Parallel to this greatly increase the supply of fresh foodstuffs in supermarkets.

I think we only have this obesity crisis because of a massive excess in the choice of foods available to us. There is now an over supply. A sizeable proportion of us older folk have the sense of self control but younger people, such as my step grand children, will eat anything in fashion, provided it's not home prepared and cooked. At the moment they're not obese, but it must be said, they're working hard to change that.
viking
11th Jan 2018
5
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Watching a morbidly obese woman in America of some 43 stone die on the TV programme. This harrowing tale could be shown in all the graphic detail to those who choose to tip as much rubbish down their throats as possible.
This might just be a possible cure for some.

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