Obesity, NHS & The Government

This a very opinionated topic, with many people have many different views, but there is one thing in common - something needs to be done. 

The NHS is struggling, and it can't possibly carry on paying out the money it does forever. There are two big expenses - smoking and obesity. Apart from a tiny minority, they are two things that are choices for people - you choose to smoke and choose to eat a lot of food and not exercise. It is taking its toll on the NHS, and one of the governments answers was to link the NHS with Weight Watchers - which has resulted in a lot of backlash from nutritionists and trainers online. Weight Watchers is not an effective way of losing weight, especially if you want to keep it off, so to offer that to people is poor.

One thing that I personally think is a problem, is that there is no incentive for people to lose weight (but the only incentive you should need, is to not want to be obese anymore). If they have a health problem resulting from obesity, they know they can get it fixed for free on the NHS. They don't have to pay for treatments relating to obesity, they don't have to pay more money for plane tickets - something that did bug me when I was flying home from Australia. I went there for a training camp when I played cricket for Essex CCC, I was at Perth airport with all of my gear, and I got taken aside to pay a lot of excess baggage, and there was an obese couple behind me in the que and they didn't have to pay anything even though, separately, their luggage and body weight would have been more than me and my gear, I just don't think that's fair to be honest. Obese people don't pay more for clothing, and nor do bodybuilders and other people who are larger out of choice. Those are just some things that are the same for everyone regardless of size, and a lot of people feel strongly about it.

Education is also a factor. No, I am not saying overweight people are dumb, not at all, not that kind of education. What I mean is, a lot of people don't know how to put healthy meals together, what to eat, how to cook it and so on. People who have personal trainers, healthy friends, nutritionists etc, they learn how to do it and then get into it and educate themselves. But those who aren't in that position, it all becomes 'too much' and they can't do it, so they stick to what they know best - unhealthy food. The longer overweight/obesity goes on, you're getting that much closer to addiction, where it becomes a lot tougher.

Some people who are overweight/obese claim that it's too expensive to eat healthy. Well it's not actually. Takeaways are actually expensive, especially for what they are (crap, really). You don't have to get the best of the best when it comes to food, but you can get some pretty good deals on healthy produce, but it requires effort to not only go and buy them but to spend time cooking a healthy meal. I have also heard lines such as "not everyone likes to eat salads". Another garbage line. Being healthy doesn't mean you eat salads morning, noon and night. I may have 1 or 2 salads per week, so that's 1-2 meals out of 21 (I have 3 main meals per day).

A lot of people are lazy and just take the easy option, but it can't continue like that. The NHS does not have a bottomless pit of cash, and I have read numerous articles saying that unless something changes, the NHS could be in real trouble due to obesity and smoking related treatments that are being paid for. I have not met one person who is overweight that is happy. They have all said to me they put on a 'happy face', but deep down they are unhappy and want to be slim. You CAN do it. There is currently no 'penalty' for being overweight/obese - you don't have to pay more money for things such as clothing and plane tickets, you get free treatment on the NHS, some obese people get benefits because they are too fat to work. Something needs to change, but it's not actually down to the government to do something, it's down to the individuals. The government can come up with ways to help (currently, no good ways....) but unless people WANT to change, then nothing will change. I really do hope people want to change....

Lee Gregory Fitness

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