Friday, 2 January 2009


The Change4Life campaign promoting behaviour change to reduce childhood obesity is being launched. The television adverts begin tomorrow, and can be seen on the BBC website.

This is the movement for change which Alan Johnson announced in his Fabian 'progressive manifesto' lecture on obesity last summer, in response to the Foresight report on obesity.

One controversial issue is the role of food corporations. Richard Watts worries about the wrong signal being sent, but the Guardian reports the counter-view from Liam Donaldson that those companies who commit to being involved will face greater pressure and scrutiny if their products and actions seem to contradict this.

I have just signed up for an action pack, though what would be immediately useful would be advice on how to persuade a nearly three year old to eat anything at all.

1 comment:

Robert Alcock said...

As someone who has been overweight for a while (and to my displeasure probably now obese - although I was like a rake as a lad), I was struck a while ago by this column on the subject from Will Hutton.

In it, he calls for everything from taxing fatty snacks like cigarettes and breaking the long hours culture, to the need for beefed up local democracy, so we can collectively design healthier local environments.

He writes: “It is platitudinous to describe obesity as the result of lifestyles, poor eating and little exercise - making the problem one of individual choice and individual irresponsibility. A small minority buck the trend through great efforts of self-discipline, but the overwhelming majority are the victims of the great economic and social forces that generate obesity. Obesity is a direct consequence of how they deny us control over our time and make food and drink consumer goods like any other gods that are sold aggressively, such as shoes or cars. Obesity, in short, is the result of modernity.”

Some might call this buck-passing - and to be honest there’s a fair few things I could realistically do better - but I think it sums up the counter-argument to Andrew Lansley brilliantly. I don’t agree with his call to adopt the Euro, but Hutton makes most other public intellectuals seem like lightweights.