Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Unveiled: radical prescription for our health crisis

This is just great! Not only can we not smoke on open-air train station platforms now all us smokers will need a permit?!?! At least that's the idea of one of those neo-fascists advising government. There is this idea that they can force people to do what they won't do otherwise. Am I the only one who thinks that this is Big Brother 1984 bullshit? Didn't Winston Smith have to do morning exercises with the TV watching him? That is where Professor Julian Le Grand's line of thinking takes us!

Now slaves, repeat after me:

War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength

War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength

War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength


A radical plan to persuade people to stop smoking, take more exercise and change their diets was proposed last night by a leading Government adviser.

As new figures were published yesterday showing that England tops the European league as the fattest nation in the EU, Professor Julian Le Grand, chair of Health England and a former senior Downing Street aide to Tony Blair, said a completely fresh approach was required by Government to reverse the epidemic of obesity and to tackle similar ills caused by "excess consumption".

In a speech to the Royal Statistical Society last night, Professor Le Grand said instead of requiring people to make healthy choices – by giving up smoking, taking more exercise and eating less salt – policies should be framed so the healthy option is automatic and people have to choose deliberately to depart from it.

Among his suggestions are a proposal for a smoking permit, which smokers would have to produce when buying cigarettes, an "exercise hour" to be provided by all large companies for their employees and a ban on salt in processed food.

The idea, dubbed "libertarian paternalism", reverses the traditional government approach that requires individuals to opt in to healthy schemes. Instead, they would have to opt out to make the unhealthy choice, by buying a smoking permit, choosing not to participate in the exercise hour or adding salt at the table.

By preserving individual choice, the approach could be defended against charges of a "nanny state," he said. "Some people say this is paternalism squared. But at a fundamental level, you are not being made to do anything. It is not like banning something, it is not prohibition. It is a softer form of paternalism."

The proposal is in line with plans under consideration at the Department of Health. Yesterday, it was revealed Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, is considering routinely sending parents details of height and weight measurements of their children at ages 5 and 10, so they are aware if their children are becoming obese. Under the current arrangements, parents are only given the information if they request it.

A report published yesterday shows England has the highest proportion of heavyweight adults in the European Union with 24.2 per cent of the population designated obese. The Health Profile of England 2007, published yesterday, reveals the obesity rate in this country is almost twice that in Germany (12.9 per cent) and two and a half times that in France (9.4 per cent.) An obese person dies on average nine years earlier than a person of normal weight and those who are extremely obese (with a body mass index over 45) have their lives cut short by an average of 13 years.

In his speech, Professor Le Grand attacked the report from the Foresight group of scientific experts published last week, which blamed the obesity explosion on an "obesogenic" environment where energy dense cheap food was readily available and sedentary lifestyles were the norm and said individuals could no longer be held responsible.

He said the analysis was "not very helpful" and presented the growth of obesity as so enormous and complex a problem that solving it seemed impossible.

Full story...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the crowning blow to individual freedom. I hope some radical opposition to this privacy invasion scheme will be voiced. And we in America will probably be next. The neocons and religious cohorts will jump on the Brit's idea to require a permit to smoke. I cannot believe what I am witnessing these days - (shakes head).