Gov't to pay fat people to lose weight

  1. Here's the link from the Daily UK mail: Link

    Government to beat obesity epidemic by PAYING fat people to lose weight

    By DANIEL MARTIN - More by this author »

    Fat people could be paid to lose weight under Government plans to tackle obesity.

    Ministers said the Health Service and employers could give vouchers to the overweight to spend on healthy food in supermarkets.

    They also suggested that those who manage to lose weight could be given cash prizes.

    Britain is in the grip of an obesity epidemic. A quarter of all adults and one in five children are obese.

    Experts say that by 2050 at least 60 per cent of the population will be obese.

    But the Government strategy risks provoking accusations of a nanny state culture because it also urges schools to appoint "lunchbox police" to check that pupils' food is healthy.

    Other ideas in the 40-page report are for compulsory cookery lessons for pupils and at least five hours of school sport a week - up from the present average of two hours.

    There will be a healthy food labelling scheme and ministers want councils to use planning laws to limit the number of fast food outlets near schools and parks.

    But one of the most controversial parts of the report is a plan to give the overweight financial incentives to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    It said: "We will look at using financial incentives, such as payments, vouchers and other rewards, to encourage individuals to lose weight and sustain that weight loss, to eat more healthily, or to be consistently more physically active."

    No firm ideas have been put forward but sources say it could include vouchers to buy healthy foods, or prizes for those who manage to cut their weight.

    Ministers are looking at a range of U.S. incentive schemes, such as one run by a private health insurer which allows clients to choose from a range of prizes if they manage to keep the weight off.

    And the report commends two weight loss competitions run by British employers.

    One firm had a "Biggest Loser" scheme, an eight-week individual weight loss competition.

    The man and woman who achieved the greater percentage weight loss received £130 in shopping vouchers, while the man and woman who lost the most weight circumference got £30 each.

    Participants lost up to 6.4 per cent of their weight.

    In another scheme, Cold Turkey, workers were grouped into teams.

    The team with the greatest percentage weight loss every week received a fruit basket and the team with the greatest weight loss at the end of 11 weeks got a trophy.

    The report says: "We need to rework the incentives for individuals and public bodies to encourage actions now, thereby avoiding much larger costs in later years.

    "In the U.S., for example, there is some evidence that small financial payments, as part of broader programmes to tackle obesity, have proven particularly effective in incentivising individuals to both achieve and maintain weight loss.

    "However, we are a long way from understanding what kinds of incentives work, which groups might be most affected by them, and how cost-effective these incentives are."

    It also raises the possibility of giving employers grants to make healthy options available in staff canteens, provide fitness facilities and invest in facilities for cyclists.

    The report said: "Employers will reap the benefits in improved productivity, high staff morale and retention, and reduce sickness absence costs."

    Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Schools Secretary Ed Balls yesterday launched the strategy, which promises an extra £372million to help people live healthier lives.

    Mr Johnson said: "Tackling obesity is the most significant public and personal health challenge facing our society.

    "The core of the problem is simple - we eat too much and we do too little exercise.

    "The solution is more complex. From the nature of the food we eat, to the built environment, through to the way our children lead their lives, it is harder to avoid obesity in the modern environment.

    "It is not the Government's role to hector or lecture people, but we do have a duty to support them in leading healthier lifestyles.

    "This will only succeed if the problem is recognised, owned and addressed in every part of society."

    Some £30million of the extra funds will be spent on the creation of "healthy towns" to promote physical activity, and £75million will go on an advertising campaign to promote a healthy diet and exercise.

    The Government also reiterated its target of cutting the proportion of overweight and obese youngsters to 2000 levels by 2020.

    Conservative health spokesman Andrew Lansley said Mr Johnson was "dithering" over food labelling.

    He said: "Obesity takes a huge toll on people's lives and is set to cost the NHS tens of billions of pounds a year by 2050. Is this really the best the Government can come up with?

    "The Government had no obesity strategy whatsoever until 2004; now half the 2004 strategy has been repackaged because it simply hasn't been delivered."

    Dr Colin Waine, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, welcomed the report. But he added: "We are disappointed that the issue of food labelling still has not been resolved.

    "And we would have liked to have seen legislation to end the advertising of energy dense food to children."
  2. In light of the article I posted yesterday about the gov't paying kids to attend school, I thought this was interesting as well.

    So, the people who are take responsibility for their lives by choosing to maintain a healthy lifestyle and thus keep their health care costs down have to pay even more in taxes for those who won't. Yet another brilliant idea from the government. {sarcasm}
  3. as long as they're not using tax-payer's money to pay obese people to lose weight:s
  4. heres an idea. y not charge them for being fat? either through taxes or higher insurance rates (depending on your country and how healthcare is provided). it costs more to care for obese patients. why shouldnt they pay more?
  5. Then why not charge smokers more? And people who eat only McDonald's and like foods and who are not fat? Or how about Diabetics? And people who have cancer genes? Or, if you don't exercise, you pay extra (despite being thin)....

    yes, some people are overweight because of being lazy and such, but are most people THIN by doing everything right? No. A LOT of it is your genes - nd there's a reason that 97% of people who lose weight put it back on. For most overweight people, keeping weight off is extremely difficult and more and more research is finding that they body sabotages itself to STAY at a higher weight... it's not an excuse, but a little understanding does wonders.

    Instead of paying people to take off weight, they should pay them for MAINTAINING the weightloss for 2 years or more.
  6. Where do you think this money comes from?
  7. ITA, let the free market work.
  8. it was more of a retorical question:angel:. i just dont' think it's fair to the tax payer having to pay all the obese ppl to lose weight. i just don't see why do we have to pay for them to lose weight.
  9. Smokers are charged more in the form of taxes on the cigarettes they buy. They are also "charged" more when they have to purchase their own insurance. If everyone would have to purchase their own health insurance then they receive the incentive by getting reduced rates. So in effect they are paid with savings. Not with other people's tax dollars.

    My question is: where is the incentive to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

    Genetics does play a big role but why are so many people so fat? I believe the article called it an "obesity epidemic"? Surely things haven't changed too much in the past few years.

    I see more of an epidemic of people becoming less responsible for their lives and living more in the "nanny state" that the government has enabled. In the long run it is not a good thing.
  10. Thanks for clarifying. I think we need a sarcasm "smile".

    Sorry - didn't mean to offend.
  11. if the obesity was due to medical condition or diabetes, then it's a different thing. but if the obesity was due to overeating (i've seen many obese ppl who just eat so much more than everyone else), i think they should be responsible for their own action.

    this gov plan might backfire too. perhaps some people would just purposely gain weight to get extra $$?
  12. Yes, but it's their BRAIN telling them they MUST eat more. I need to find that article. The body sends signals to the brain that it's hungry and so they eat... or all they do is think about food even though they really have eaten enough.

    The problem is, once you ARE fat, it's difficult to lose the weight and keep it off - very, very difficult and they are trying to find out why that is.

    The reason it's an epidemic is because people aren't moving. People used to walk everywhere - to the tram, to their job, to the market, etc. Now everyone drives to EvERYTHING... even coming to walking up the stairs to your flat and now there are elevators.

    My MIL is a prime example. She DESPISED fat people and called them lazy and ate too much etc. She was thin her entire life - everyone in her family is thin. But now??? She's overweight (not excessively) and she eats a 1/3 of what she used to eat. The difference is not what she eats, but in her now more sedentary lifestyle in the US. When we go to Europe and walk to this and that and such, I can eat WHATEVER I want and not gain weight - ice cream, desserts, etc... at home? I have to watch every piece of food that goes in my mouth and need to "schedule" exercise whihc is so unnatural! And yes, I am overweight... but diets have only led to regaining the weight and I wish I could explain it. It's like some force outside of me FORCES me to eat... I become obsessed with eating. I will see the pounds go back on and I CANNOT STOP - even knowing how I hate feeling fat, how its' affecting my health and so on. You cannot IMAGINE what it makes you feel like - like an out of control person. And I'm not alone in this. 97% of all people who lose weight put it ALL back on... so we also need to learn WHY this happens so that we can counteract it.

    And I agree, we need to keep people from becoming overweight by making incentives to do things that promote healthier living. You can betcha that I'm VERY good about not passing my bad habits to my kids - they eat a healthy diet (we all do) and they are active - swimming and tae kwon do and have developed a taste for veggies and beans and whole grains (brown rice, etc). And as a fat person, I'm appalled at seeing fat parents passing down their bad habits to their kids because once you get that way??? It feels impossible to reverse your upbringing and food tastes.

    I keep trying, but until I can turn that voice off in my head, I think it will be a lifelong battle with my weight.
  13. i know that weight battles are normally a life long battles and that a lot of people have to watch their food intake or weight. but when i gained lots of weight, i only blamed myself (&try to correct this myself) and don't expect others to pay for me to lose weight.

    also, there's a difference between being overweight and obese.

    berrryblondeboys: you're a very good parent to provide and develope a healthy lifestyle for your children. i think that's what the goverment should focus on...on promoting the healthy lifestyle. i know here in quebec, people can get tax credit when the children join a gym (exercise) program.
  14. that is absolutely ridiculous. everyone knows that the most unhealthy food are the cheapest. 99 cent burgers at Micky D's for goodness sake.

    do you know how much fruits and vegetables are these days? lol

    it seems like the only way to get things right is to bribe people. what a lame idea!!

    here is a start, stop eating that frozen food stuff and start learning to cook!
  15. ^:yes: