As Britain prepares to break out the frying pans and cook up some delicious pancakes, then smother them in all manners of strange concoctions, the Prime Minister David Cameron this week announced the possibility of benefit cuts to obese people if they refuse treatment.
He advised that a review of the current system will take place, which he advises doesn’t do enough to encourage medical help for people with treatable long-term obesity.
When he made the announcement, the PM stated: “People have problems with their weight that could be addressed – but instead a life on benefits rather than work becomes the choice.”
“It is not fair to ask hardworking taxpayers to fund the benefits of people who refuse to accept the support and treatment that could help them get back to a life of work.”
Will this help?
According to latest figures England has some of the highest obesity rates in the developed world, with nearly two-thirds of adults and one-third of 10 and 11-year-olds being overweight or obese so there is no doubt that there is a serious issue facing these shores.
Additionally, research from a major European investigation (including a team from Edinburgh University) concluded that children who are born to overweight mothers run a greater a risk of experiencing health problems later on in life.
So there is undoubtedly a need for something to be done regarding this epidemic. However, a spokeswoman from obesity support group claimed that cutting benefits is not the answer and wasn’t feasible. Previous similar schemes have been proposed by the Conservative government to cut benefits for people who didn’t seek treatment (2010 and 2012) however due to lack of support and opposition from charities these proposals were scrapped.
Whether individuals are at fault for their own obesity or whether other factors, such as irresponsible corporations, are at work is a matter for debate that will rage on indefinitely, however what is clear is that this is a growing cause for concern that does need to be tackled.
What are your opinions? We’d love to hear your thoughts? Is this new proposal the answer? What can be done to combat the obesity issue in the UK?