You’ve probably seen adverts like the one above. They’re part of Boris Johnson’s new Obesity Plan for a healthier nation. You might have seen them on the way back from an Eat Out To Help Out ‘blow out’ – another government scheme. What a contradiction to release a campaign encouraging us to eat better at the same time as encouraging us to overindulge!
We’re also disappointed in the messages behind the billboards. Johnson’s campaign yet again focuses on the food industry.
The government’s changes – banning TV and online ads for high fat, sugar and salt foods before 9pm; the end of ‘buy one get one free’ deals on unhealthy food; and putting calorie counts on restaurant menus – are simple smart tweaks that no-one can disagree with. And will make very little material difference to people’s lives.
Meanwhile, Obesity Canada release their guidelines; ‘A Patient-Centred Approach to Obesity Care‘ with a 5 step approach that includes recognising obesity as a chronic disease, individual assessments to identify root causes and barriers to obesity treatment, discussion of different treatment options and agreement of goals. And now everyone is raving about this ‘new approach’ when these are exactly the principles SHINE has had in place for the past 17 years!!!
In the UK, there are still no intervention plans for those already living with obesity. The “Better Health” campaign recommends a 12-week weight loss plan based around an app that helps users to set weight loss goals, plan meals, make healthier food choices, to get more active and to burn more calories. But how will that help those living with severe obesity and complex needs? There are no treatment strategies and still no mention of the whole system approach. When will they understand that obesity is not just about ‘eat less and move more’?