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A heavy heart



We are a fat and lazy generation and we are going to pay for it. But worst of all, so will the next generation and the one after that.  Our kids are going to pay the price of our greed. Congratulations.

Nearly a quarter of all UK adults are now classed as obese. Not chubby, not a little bit over their fighting weight. Clinically obese. That means it is likely to damage their health. Unlike our European brothers we’ve chosen to take an American model and consume ourselves into early graves. But not content with that, we’re doing it to our kids too…..24% of children aged between 2 and 15 are also obese.

And before I hear any of this passive liberal rubbish about it being a condition and fat people being as healthy as others….let us be clear…..THAT IS ALL CRAP! Stop pretending, stop lying to yourselves and stop being a lame victim.  The vast majority of obesity is linked to lifestyle choices and being over weight is statistically proven to increase your risk of a whole host of illnesses and conditions.

So not only are we over feeding our kids, we’re also likely to completely fuck the National Health Service in the  process by bleeding it dry of resources through our own over indulgence and complete laziness.

Health problems, higher taxes and a crumbling health system. What a fine legacy we are going to leave.  Unless we start doing something about this NOW.  As businesses, as organisations we need to take this seriously. I’ve written about this before, I know. But SOMEONE has to step up to the plate and sort this one out. The Government aren’t going to do it….they’re busy REDUCING the amount off sport done in schools.  We need collectively to take this one seriously and understand that health and wellbeing is a competitive edge not only for our businesses but for the country as a whole.

Start the education process, start the programmes and initiatives that will help your staff, start leading from the front and being clear that a healthy workforce is as important as a healthy profit. If we don’t take action we are condemning this country in the same way the previous generation fucked up our pensions for us.  Are you ok with that? Because I’m not.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. 11/29/2010 10:20

    Brave words. Something I’ve also blogged about is the fact that funding for the really successful National Healthy Schools Programme is finishing. The NHSP has run successfully for over ten years and works with schools to ensure they promote healthier lifestyles. LA NHSP coordinators also work with school sports partnerships, school nursing service, school travel planning and contribute to local obesity strategy plannning at the PCT. So what now for schools?

    • The Engaging Engager permalink
      11/30/2010 02:12

      What now for schools? How about putting up goals posts or netball nets and spending a bit of time teaching kids how to use a ball?
      Sorry CitizenR, I’m sure your programme has merits but it does smack of the “nanny state” nonsense which has perpetuated the problem.
      We need to look upstream to address the way this country (and we’re not alone) has somehow bluffed generations into believing that structure and rukes are evil and competition is the devil’s work.
      Kids need to be allowed to be kids, allowed to play and exercise before hitting the classroom and then sport and recreational activities need to be built into and reinforced as a balanced part of the curriculum not seen as “options” or ” annoying add ons”.
      A whole culture needs to change.
      We can’t cure this by lecturing people on what they could or should be eating. If you have a match to play in or want to train for something you soon make the link between energy and performance yourself and simply don’t have the time to stuff your face as you’re too busy living and having fun.

  2. 11/29/2010 11:41

    Interesting post. For many people, travelling into work, being at work and then travelling home from work leaves little or no time to exercise. I agree – there is no excuses – we’re becoming too lazy. However I feel that the onus of businesses should be on providing opportunities for their staff. All new office buildings should contain gym facilities etc. Yes, lazy members of staff may choose not to go, but at least those who do want to do something have an opportunity.

  3. The Engaging Engager permalink
    11/29/2010 12:18

    1 in 5 kids play competitive sports at school…..”nuff said”.
    Wen’s the last time you saw a fat Ozzie/South African/Kiwi?

  4. 11/29/2010 13:05

    Thought-provoking and straight to the point as ever, I really enjoyed reading this. Particularly apt in the run-up to the festive season, when the temptation is to over-indulge in every sense. I’ve been inspired by your blog to capture some of the things that my organisation does to promote a healthy lifestyle and would love to hear about what others do too.

  5. 11/29/2010 16:10

    Nicely put, and very diplomatically sidestepping the usual attacks on fat individuals for bringing it upon themselves.

    I firmly believe that everyone if the size they want to be. Becoming obese doesn’t happen by accident or overnight. It actually takes an awful lot of work, blind determination and perseverance to get fat, and then to maintain it. The body regulates itself extraordinarily well, and only excessive consumption on a daily basis will pile on the pounds.
    We don’t need more gyms. We need fewer cars, bus stops to be further apart, and no lifts in buildings. Imagine the positive impact if all job centres were above the 8th floor, with no lift.

    Furthermore, I see fat kids as the innocent victims of child abuse. Neglectful parents are the ruin of this country’s children, and the rest of us have to pay the price for it.

  6. 11/29/2010 17:21

    I’m too busy eating to comment.

  7. 11/29/2010 20:13

    In a country where kids are driven to school, out-of-school activities and to friends’ houses by their stressed parents, I wouldn’t expect less. I talked with a cabbie in London who still drove his 12 year old everywhere, whereas my 4 year old was walking 400 meters to Kindergarten unattended every day.

    In Swiss schools kids are only allowed healthy snacks ( no crisps, sweets etc) for school breaks. There are no vending machines. M kids only drink tap water: no fizzy sweet drinks etc.

    Our family policy is that children must spend a few hours per day playing freely outside. 30 minutes max TV or PC per day.

    And at 44 years of age, my BMI is still 23.

    There: done my part 😉

  8. 11/29/2010 20:17

    Jamie Oliver is doing his part: training schools to prepare healthy lunches and making public aware of healthy food alternatives. Bravo!

  9. 11/30/2010 10:19

    @citizenr – I’m aware of the ending of this programme from my kids’ school and the funding that is also being pulled meaning that a lot of additional sporting opportunities are at risk. I really worry that we are thinking short term and not long term, but the Conservative governments are renowned for that…..

    @The Engaging Engineer – Unfortunately this is a vicious cycle though as studies have shown that overweight kids are less likely to get involved in sports because of their weight. I agree with your sentiments but I don’t think that chucking a couple of goal posts up is the kind of intervention that will turn things around on its own.

    @Callum Saunders – I agree, that is why I think it is for businesses to step up to the plate. Our lives are so dictated by work that the opportunities should be provided by the companies.

    @The Engaging Engineer – Shane Warne?

    @Alison Chisnell – Thanks for building on the debate Alison. And good to see that other companies are taking this seriously too.

    @Stephen O’Donnell – Completely agree, we have choices, we are free human beings and in the UK (I think it is different in the US) healthy food is no more expensive than a poor diet.

    @Henry – I’ve told you not to wipe your mouth on your sleeve… go and wash your hands….

    @Ralph Bassfield – Sir, you set an example to us all! 🙂

  10. 11/30/2010 14:09

    I agree with every word in this. Thought I’d comment today as the PUblic Health White paper is out and it is asking employers to take responsibility for the health of their staff. That means if someone says they want to leave work early to go to the gym you bloody well let them. It means you incentivise line managers partly on whether or not they take responsibility for the health of their staff. I am only about three pounds within the optimum weight on the BMI – and I’ve just eaten a packet of cheese and onion crisps – so I’m not being sanctimonious. But let’s not make excuses for obese people. They are fat because they are lazy, irresponsible and greedy. Obesity goes hand in hand with overuse of cars so the irresponsibility goes beyond just the cost to the NHS. And if parents think they are showing how much they love their children by letting them have a seventh bowl of Frosties… condemning them to cardiac problems, diabetes etc etc for the rest of their life seems like a strange kind of love to me.

  11. g-dog permalink
    12/01/2010 02:21

    So – if you didn’t blame the individual – I guess Stephen did it for you. I’ll admit – I am not unbiased on this because I am one of hated fatasses. I think I have reasonable data that it is at least partially genetic – I think you all have the same observations re: various body types/propensities. Thankfully Stephen has enlightened us that it is a simple choice! Apparently I, and others, just lack the will that our physical/healthier superiors have. I don’t believe the medical field has the data to really separate weight as a significant causative factor regarding health as you have asserted – and it is a complex problem. An overweight person that eats a healthy diet and exercises regularly may remain overweight but still be healthier than a normal weight person that does not follow the same path. Am I also responsible for my obesity – HELLS YA! Is it easy to lose weight and keep it off – no, no it is not. I’d still like a modicum of respect and not instantly be viewed as yet another lazy fatass burden on society. Any efforts should promote healthy lifestyle choices, and deal with weight as a secondary issue (vs. weight THE primary issue).

    Hmm – just say Neil’s comment: “They are fat because they are lazy, irresponsible and greedy.” Gee, thanks ….


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