It’s official: we’re a nation of idiots who can’t make decisions to save ourselves or take responsibility for our problems.
That’s according to two academics from Otago University, researchers in public health, Dr Gabrielle Jenkin and Penny Field, who specialise in the obesity epidemic.
Interviewed this week by Kathryn Ryan on National Radio, Field tossed off a comment which sent me into deep despair. Obesity, she said, was “not a problem with individual choice and self-discipline, which we’ve proved successfully doesn’t work”.
Instead it’s the fault of “big institutions and the market”.
Actually the problem is lack of market forces. Make overweight people pay more to fly, and pay more for healthcare and you’ll see more people lose weight.
This attitude from academics is patronising and silly. Yes, there are some grossly obese people for whom stomach-stapling is the only resort, so impossible is it for them to lose weight, but they’re a small minority.
For the rest of us, choice and self-discipline most definitely does work. Eat less food, whatever that may be, and exercise more. If we jettison that weapon in the weight-control battle, what next? Budgeting? Fighting fraud? Why bother prosecuting directors of finance companies who fail to protect the savings of investors by exercising self-discipline and choice, but excuse themselves by saying they were victims of the global financial crisis?
Jenkin’s final words were that the food industry needs to be held accountable for obesity. No. Individuals need to be held accountable and stop blaming food and its makers for their problem.
Hear hear.Tags: Deborah Coddington, Food ****s