Reflections from A Balcony In Spain: Time To Ban Obesity?

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Now let me get one thing clear: I am not a thin chap! I carry a fair bit of timber, have more parts of my body that are ‘heading south’ than is probably good for me, and up until a couple of years enjoyed the occasional *cough* social cigarette or two.

I regularly drink more than the recommended number of units of alcohol a week, and you will find me tucking into a Full English from time to time.

I do all of these through choice, and to be honest I don’t care if you wear a Burka, drink too much, or want to smoke. I don’t give two hoots if a cafe or bar is ‘too smokey’, as that is their choice to attract and allow that profile of clientele. If I don’t like it I can always find somewhere else to go.

But, and it is a big but, and it isn’t my but you understand, if the governments the world over are intent on banning the Burka, banning Bullfighting, banning smoking in public places, and as has been the case in Dubai recently banning expatriates from drinking between certain hours, then surely it is about to time to ban obesity as well?

This is not new territory for me.

I am relaxed about what people do and don’t do in their lives, but I feel strongly that once governments start to interfere they have to careful where they draw the line, and the easy pickings of the smoker and the drinker seem like a case of bullying to me, so while we are at it why don’t we ban bullying by Governments!

You see a recent survey revealed that obese people visit the Doctor more often than smokers, and the more frequent visits are not down to chronic illnesses that you would associate with obesity such as diabetes.

The survey basically concluded that obese people were more likely to visit a doctor for minor day to day ailments ad heart related issues than a smoker or generally unfit person.

And for me that is the problem. As a rule the more you smoke or drink the more you pay in taxes. A heavy drinker that needed a new liver for example would have a case for arguing that they had paid more in tax by being a heavy alcohol consumer, and had contributed more to the heath service.

You may not agree, but they would have a case. Ditto the smoker with lung cancer. The government for years have happily increased the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, while cutting back on health services, so an extension of the argument could be that the smokers and drinkers have subsidised the health service for the general public.

This just isn’t the case with the obese though. The trend the world over has been to reduce the price, and quality, of food served going for quantity over quality, with the result that all the obese need to do is to eat everything on their plate, whereas those with will power just leave some. Everyone pays the same price. Research has clearly indicated that the obese are far more likely to consume the cheap ‘junk food’ than an expensive plate of sushi for example, so the reverse to the smokers and drinkers could be argued. I suspect that in many cases the obese contribute less in taxes than the healthy, yet they are now a significant drain on the health services around the world.

I doubt very much we will see “Eating Kills” on the packaging of Burgers, or www.eataware.com plastered across the food adverts on TV but if that is the case, if the government isn’t prepared to ‘get on the case’ of the obese as it does the smokers the drinkers and the religiously minded, maybe it should back down and in fact ban all this talk of banning.

Educate people, then let them make their own minds up!!

And for the sake of clarity, I really honestly don’t have any issue with obese people, smokers, drinkers or religion of any shape of form!

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