So we all saw the headlines yesterday...
NHS to incentivize weight loss in overweight patients
and of course everyone has an opinion on this.
the thing is, your health is your responsibility and your responsibility alone and unless you see the value in changing, nothing will change. OK so the government and other agencies may feel they have a right to comment on your current weight and how it relates to your health, but ultimately nobody and I mean nobody can make you introduce changes that you do not want to make, and nor should they.
Weight is a complex issue, yet often we like to clump all fat people into one massive group and think we can solve all of their problems with one fail swoop, the major flaw with that is some of us don't even think we have a problem in the first place, some of us actually don't, some of us are happy where we are, some of us have more pressing issues than weightloss in our lives and some of us are simply not ready to face the reality that we have put on weight and can't seem to shift it.
Us FAT people are not all the same...DO YOU GET IT??
The NHS plan to incentivize weight loss makes sense on paper I guess as the organisation requires an extra £8 billion by 2020 to close a £30 billion funding black hole, and as Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive outlined in a recent report
the NHS requires more money and a "radical" shake-up to prevent "severe consequences" for patients
In 2013, Public Health England said that 61.9% of adults in England were obese or overweight and it is estimated that obesity or being overweight costs the UK £6.4bn so perhaps it makes sense to spend that money in a different way, because from where I am standing the nation seems to just be getting bigger...6 Billion pounds is an awful lot of money to spend. But that figure only takes in to account the medical/health implications of weight gain, not the psychological ones and the fact that for a lot of women weight gain brings with it depression and anxiety, or generally just makes you feel a little more crap about yourself.
So lets just say I did get paid to lose the excess weight I have?
According to my BMI measurement I am still 2 stone overweight, so lets say I was paid £2000 to lose that weight and then I got pregnant again and put some of that back on, which is highly likely considering my last pregnancy, or maybe I twisted my ankle and was unable to exercise for 6 months would the NHS pay me out again to lose the next lot of weight?
There are a lot of assumptions being made about overweight people in terms of these plans
- That money is enough of a driver to make us lose weight, a lot of wealthy individuals are overweight too you know
- That being overweight costs the NHS anything, there are plenty of overweight people who never access NHS services and are healthy
- That all overweight people want to lose weight, many overweight people chose to be the size they are
- Did you know, the average woman spends 31 years of their life dieting.
What a waste of a life. All those highs and lows. All those start again Mondays, and "Damn, I've blown it now" moments. Where in this NHS plan is there a mention of health and happiness, or dealing with the psychological side of weight gain, where does it mention being active and learning to love physical activity?
The money that is spent in the UK on obesity prevention and treatment, and on schemes to get more people physically active is eye watering, and health professionals are not immune to this so-called obesity epidemic either...NHS staff recently got a slap on the wrist themselves and have been encouraged to lose weight in an attempt to be better role models to their patients.
But there is something there about Role Models, because in my opinion that's what is missing from all this work, and why I have over 5000 overweight women following what I am up to on Facebook.
Do you want to hear my idea for a better way to spend some of that money?
Give me £166,000 a year for the next 3 years and I will do the following...
- Develop a UK wide marketing campaign using larger ladies to show that exercise is not just for already fit and slim people
- Train 100 Too Fat to Run ambassadors who will set up FREE monthly running groups in every region in the UK
- Launch a series of FREE, family friendly One Big Fat Run events around the country
- Create a Too Fat to Run podcast giving motivational tips and advice for free to millions of overweight women in the UK
- Create a Too Fat to Run mobile phone app that helps women to log their miles and connect with other plus size runners
- In effect I will get 1 million overweight women in the UK running, and for less than £0.50 pence per person.
Will those million women lose weight? Probably. Will they be fitter? Without a shadow of a doubt. But most importantly will they be happier? You are damn right they will be and so will the millions of women that will potentially be inspired to get involved in running and other forms of exercise as a result.
It is a shame that in 2014 we are still thinking completely inside the box when it comes to healthcare in this country. We fund established programmes and organisations that often do not work and make it impossible for innovation and fresh ideas to come to the surface.
Despite money being a necessary part of life, most of us don't care about it that much, we just want to be happy. But we know that to find happiness takes a lot of hard work and for everyone to play their part. Having an extra £2000 in my account could really help me right now, but it wouldn't make me any happier....as the song goes
more money more problems.
Feeling like my voice is being heard, and that finally I am getting somewhere in shifting perceptions about larger women would make me incredibly happy though, as would having a bit of job security.
On a serious level if any of the health agencies out there would like to talk to me about my ideas for tackling inactivity related to obesity I am all ears. I am also available to talk to commercial partners too...not sure the NHS would be that up for sponsoring me some how though, they have enough money problems as it is.
So what do you think about incentivising weightloss? and what do you think about my plans for getting 1 million women running for just 50p per head? Bargain or what?