Corporate Massage

Corporate Massage

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Our Obesity Crisis

Should we continually blame the manufacturer and marketing companies for making our kids Obese?

Whilst we can agree with the sentiment that manufacturers and suppliers of our food should do more to reduce the levels of potentially harmful sugar, salt and fat contents in some of our food.  Are we wrong to simply blame them for our level of obesity we now see in society?

A recent article in the Mirror ( ) states that we should also be stopping celebrities from endorsing such products.  With huge sums of money being offered to top sports personalities such as David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and the like this is never going to happen.

You have to ask the question though as to why we are seeking to blame these commercial businesses for what is a Western world issue.  Almost all the modern Western countries are suffering to some extent from this obesity crisis and it is only likely to get worse

Britain is one of the highest levels and we truly believe that this is an education issue.  Not in the sense that schools should carry the burden but that people simply don't understand the problems and how to manage their diet and exercise.

7 Main reasons were identified for influencing obesity
·     Biology: an individual’s starting point - the influence of genetics and ill health;
·     Activity environment: the influence of the environment on an individual’s activity behaviour, for example a decision to cycle to work may be influenced by road safety, air pollution or provision of a cycle shelter and showers;
·     Physical Activity: the type, frequency and intensity of activities an individual carries out, such as cycling vigorously to work every day;
·     Societal influences: the impact of society, for example the influence of the media, education, peer pressure or culture;
·     Individual psychology: for example a person’s individual psychological drive for particular foods and consumption patterns, or physical activity patterns or preferences;
·     Food environment: the influence of the food environment on an individual’s food choices, for example a decision to eat more fruit and vegetables may be influenced by the availability and quality of fruit and vegetables near home;
·     Food consumption: the quality, quantity (portion sizes) and frequency (snacking patterns) of an individual’s diet.

A study back in 2011 showed that only 39% of men and 26% of women were taking part in the recommended weekly amounts of exercise? When you consider that a child is twice as likely to grow up obese if their parents do not partake in exercise the impact of this statistic makes very scary reading for the future

It was also stated that social and economic status and income was a factor in how much exercise and the type of diets that were being consumed.  With outdoor exercise becoming more popular than ever, surely there is no longer a need for expensive gym memberships and that educating individuals how to train cheaply should become a priority. It is also a myth that fresh produce is more expensive that processed foods. What is requires are thought, planning and a little know how. 

Jamie Oliver the celebrity chef has produced programs based on cheap but healthy foods and details can be found online Jamie Oliver website.

We believe that if the government are to focus on driving down obesity in our society we need to tackle this in a number of ways

1) Continue to work with industry to reduce the harmful levels of sugars, fats and salts in our foods
2) Provide education on food labelling and reduce the ambiguity surrounding low fat, fat free foods which are often a gimmick to sell foods
3) Instead of encouraging weight loss classes which simply encourage calorie counting we need to educate about food, what works well, what is a balanced diet, why treats can be good if in moderation.  We should teach this in schools and food education should be part of the curriculum
4) PE in schools should be taken seriously and teachers, especially primary schools where dedicated PE teachers are not employed should be provided the skills to deliver effective work outs for young children. Every child should have to partake
5) Every school should offer after school sporting or exercise activities
6) Local fitness businesses should be provided incentives to encourage greater uptake.  Private golf courses receive VAT reductions or as if often the case pays no tax at all yet fitness and health businesses still do? With a crisis like we have surely this has to be considered?
7) Encourage the lottery fund to divert more of the funding away from massive investments in things like new opera houses and art galleries and deliver it to community projects that aim to deliver educational based fitness, healthy lifestyle and food projects.

Obesity is not a problem that strikes at a certain demographic but if we are not careful will be our biggest killer. We all have a responsibility to ourselves and our next generation.  Whilst Government and industry need to play their part, it’s often very easy to blame others when ultimately unless we remove all such products from the shelves and militarily enforce exercise it can only be the individual who makes the choice not to die young!

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