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HomeNewsToday’s talking point: Do we need a ‘get off your bottom’ policy?

Today’s talking point: Do we need a ‘get off your bottom’ policy?


THIS week we were told that the Prime Minister was reviewing the Government’s obesity strategy including dropping the ban on ‘buy one get one free’ offers. 

Most sane adults will welcome this rejection of nanny statism and micromanagement of trade.

Yet the fact remains that we are an unheathily fat country: 8 per cent of adults in England are officially obese and a further 36 per cent are overweight. Walking round the streets of London, my guess is that is an underestimate.

Isn’t it the fact, though, that the river of obesity is fed not only by overeating and bad diets that state tinkering will never resolve, but high levels of unemployment and people not getting off their bottoms to go out to work – including the very large numbers of incapacity-related claimants that hide substantially greater than officially acknowledged unemployment? A paper published earlier this summer reveals well over three-quarters of a million on incapacity benefits. 

It doesn’t take much research to find another correlation – that in the most deprived areas in England the prevalence of excess weight (overweight or obese) is 9 percentage points higher than in the least deprived areas. 

So wouldn’t a better anti-obesity strategy be to limit benefits for all those able to work? 

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Edited by Kathy Gyngell

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