Category Archives: problem

Obesity: A growing social problem

It’s pretty clear that obesity is a growing issue in modern society. Studies show – meaning they threw some numbers at the wall and wrote down the ones that stuck – that over half of the UK will be obese by 2050 and that treatment of obesity cost the NHS £7bn in 2002, a number that is only going to increase. That’s a lot of new schools, hospitals and policepersons.

Now, I accept that many people are obese through no fault of their own, but the sad fact is that there will be a significant proportion of obese people who could get thinner but are hiding behind the excuse that the genuinely, genetically obese people provide.

The other twist is that there will be some obese people who don’t give a damn about the ‘ideal’ body image projected by society, who are quite happy with their weight and who, if given the chance, would eat burgers for their rest of their days in complete contentment. Are we telling these people that they’re not allowed, in a free society, to do what makes them happy?

The truth is that society is not free. Society is a trade, economics at it’s simplest. a democracy gives you various wonderful freedoms to enjoy but, in return, these freedoms need to be policed and you have a responsibility not to impinge on the freedoms of others. Do not threaten another man’s freedoms, lest he threaten yours.

The problem I have with the linked article is that they make the blanket statement that obesity ‘is not individual’s fault’. In some cases, that will probably be true, but in a lot of cases it will be complete rubbish. It’s yet another case of the powers that be removing responsibility from people.

I can understand that They think that evidence shows that people can’t control themselves so They have to take responsibility. But what this does is remove the onus from the individual. Gradually, our dominion over our self is being removed. More and more we are told what to do, where to go, what to eat, what to think: soon there will be no part of us that does not fall under the aegis of some faceless government agency and the notion of ‘individuals’ will be no more.

I was going to go into some extremist rant there about how we should abandon people to their fate and provide only basic support, thereby forcing people to look after themselves. But then the little bloke in white on the other shoulder piped up with “what about the people who can’t look after themselves?”.

Which means that since – and while – society is beholden to those less fortunate, those who are only pretending to be less fortunate will have a free ride and consume resources better spent on those that really need it. It means that the few – the freeloaders – are ruining it for everyone. In other words, minority rules.

Once again, those who take responsbility for themselves are going to suffer because of those who do not.