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We’re all special cases now

According to a Radio Five Live contributor, the obesity epidemic in Britain already costs the NHS a staggering £5 billion per annum. This fact came winging into my brain in the wee hours this morning, just after I had spent yesterday reading reports of a new European Court of Justice ruling that severe obesity can legally be a disability.

See here for an article by Owen Boycott in THE GUARDIAN

In this wonderfully PC-correct modern world we live in, this development amounts to another staging post on the route to total absurdity.

So a ridiculous proportion of the population is getting fatter and fatter, to the point of medically harming itself? The answer is to invest in preventive measures, not accommodate these monsters.

By extrapolation, I’m now assuming that our put-upon employers will one day become legally obliged to install wider doorways to create easier access to their offices for their jumbo-sized staff; incorporate floor-strengthening measures into their building designs; go to the expense of switching to larger work-stations and lavatories; add comfy-chair ‘rest’ stations upon every floor so that their ‘disabled’ fatties can re-fuel with doughnuts, cream cakes and fizzy drinks at elevenses; and finally, no doubt, provide each of them with a brand new invalid mobility scooter so that they can get home safely every day without having to suffer the indignity of going home on public transport.

Give me strength!

The arguments put forward by both (bingo) wings of the fattist lobby do not impress me.

The first consists of the “I’m fat and I’m proud” extremists, who seemingly want to be left alone to eat themselves to death without being prey to disapproving looks from the rest of us. Meanwhile the second compromises those who profess “Don’t think that any of us actually want to be obese!” in their pleadings for special treatment and/or assistance from the rest of the taxpaying public which (of course) isn’t going to cost them personally anything at all, presumably so that it can leave them to spend all their own money on fast food.

It is noticeable that what is common to the thinking of both these factions is the complete absence of anything that might admit or require the application of a little self-discipline.

smoking2I’m firmly in the ‘tough love’ camp when it comes to self-inflicted medical conditions.

A packet of 20 cigarettes can cost nearly £8 these days – an extraordinarily high amount which presumably has the beneficial effects of not only making people give up (or at least cut down) the disgusting habit of smoking, but actually – indirectly, via its tax proportion – helps to pay for the costly NHS treatments and indeed beds that have to be provided to Britain’s increasingly-unhealthy smokers.

Applying similar logic, I can see no reason why all unhealthy foods that tend to cause or accelerate obesity should not have a similarly-discouraging tax element now added to their prices.

That way the manufacturers would be made to contribute more towards dealing with the ailments that result from their nefarious products – but also, hopefully, those who gratefully consume them would be made to think twice before they spend their hard-earned cash, or indeed their easily-provided welfare benefits, on them … instead of (perhaps) other, more uplifting and spiritually-rewarding, items.

One of the keys to dealing with, and overcoming, any addiction is that the victim has to admit and come to terms with it – and not least its effects upon them and those around them.

That’s all we’re talking about here …




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About Oliver Fortune

A doctor formerly specialising in sexual health, Oliver has written widely on matters relating to sex, relationships and counselling. He is divorced and has one daughter. He is a keen skier and mountain biker. More Posts