Fat motorists really can’t catch their breath a break. They use more than their fare share of petrol, they’re more likely to die in car accidents and now they may have inadvertenetly convinced the NHS to force the entire UK population to walk at least part of the way to work.
Speaking at a crisis meeting to discuss the UK’s increasing obesity issue, assistant director of public health Dr Frances Howie outlined plans to ensure new buildings come with car parks located “three-quarters of a mile away” so workers are forced to walk at least some of the distance to get in.
Motorists weren’t the only ones targeted. The good doctor’s plan also includes asking primary schools to hand out skipping ropes to children to encourage them to exercise and making cookery classes in schools compulsory to promote healthier eating.
Dr Howie’s motives behind the plans appear sound. Recently released figures from the Department for Work and Pensions suggest the number of people claiming obesity benefits has doubled over the last three years to 7,080.
Meanwhile, 50 per cent of Worcester county’s population is obese, according to Worcester Councillor Roger Berry, with 20,779 of that figure aged between five and fourteen years old. In 2010, a survey by the Department for Health found 62.8 per cent of people in England aged 16 or over were overweight or obese, increasing the chances of diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
“If we don’t get it right, in the years to come all we’ll end up dealing with is overweight people and those who suffer from alcohol abuse,” Dr Howie told a Worcester City Council committee. “If we do get things right over the next 25 years we will see all those problems pulled back, much more assistive technology and many more people living at home than would otherwise be the case in their later years.”
In November 2012 health chiefs also suggested making parking more expensive to discourage driving and encourage walking.
What are your thoughts on this? Should everyone be penalised for the good of the relatively few? Or are we looking a health horse in the mouth? Put the cake down for a second and let us know in the comments below.