Have a rant: Obesity

Alan Johnson, health secretary, says in his introduction to the Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives report that without action, nine out of 10 adults in England could be overweight or obese by 2050. The press then converted that to anything from 60% to 90% expected obesity, and then called for legislation.

I mean really. Come on, you guys. This is just another thing for people to be afraid of. We already know that fear of crime is much more prevalent than crime itself.

Statistics are known to be massageable to produce any result you want. I even read somewhere that if you eat brussels sprouts in your last meal before getting on a plane, your chances of being in a plane crash are increased four-fold. Pseudo-statistics such as these are pure hokum, and we should all learn to recognise them as such.

So I’ll bet you any money that if we check again in 2050, we will not find that 90%, or even 60%, of people in the UK are obese. Some of us, of course, will still be fat.

Let me declare an interest here. I’m overweight. I’m a fatty.

But I’m not going to become obese. I just put on some weight after I had my kids that won’t come off for anything less than a starvation diet. I’m overweight but my weight is stable – like millions of other tubbies – and frankly, I can live with it, so it’s nobody else’s business but mine.

HR has enough on its plate without being expected to dragoon cuddly members of staff into attending diet and fitness clubs that it must organise, or pop across the road to the supermarket every day to buy bananas and tangerines for the workforce.




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