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The Obesity Epidemic – It really is complicated!

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We often hear about complex problems on the news and in everyday life, a lot seem to relate to Brexit at the moment. 

One tremendous conundrum is what we should do about obesity.

This was brought into sharp focus again this week when a long-term study into schools was published.This was an excellent study that was undertaken by the people at the University of Birmingham.

It was a 30-month programme that involved 50 primary schools in the West Midlands being selected for special treatment designed to reduce childhood obesity. The participating schools increased physical activity each week, ran a healthy eating programme and cookery workshops and involved families. The results were disappointing, to say the least. They showed no difference in obesity between those who took part and those who didn’t. It underlines what a challenge it will be to turn around the tanker that is obesity. 

There will be other initiatives, such as reducing sugar in drinks, increasing the prices of certain foods, etc. It’s unlikely there is a single silver bullet that will fix the problem. In reality, it will need a coordinated effort to change the environment in which children are brought up. Families and parents are the keys to the transformation.

That also raises the question of modern family structures and difficult societal challenges. It’s such a long-term effort that’s required that you wonder if any government is willing to make the investment needed today that will only see results in 30 years time. What’s clear is that if we don’t make it, the hospitals will not just be clogged up the future with the elderly, but those younger patients who are living with the consequences of obesity, for example, type 2 diabetes.

A genuinely complex problem.

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