Blog: Dean BestDouble+ Britain

Dean Best | 15 August 2008

According to a leading UK government advisor, the threat to the nation posed by obesity is as great as that of terrorism.
 
The BBC reported yesterday (14 August) that Durham University public health expert Professor David Hunter said ministers should be taking "bold action" now, before we become a nation of fatties and the NHS is overwhelmed.

And, if Hunter had his way, this action would include forcing manufacturers to cut salt, fat and sugar from products.

"The government was quick to move for things like ID cards or 42-day detention without trial - now it needs to show similar leadership in public health. The threat to our future health is just as significant as the current security threat," Hunter said.

So, according to Hunter it isn’t enough that the government is eroding our civil liberties to ‘protect us’ from terrorism. The government should also have control over what we put in our bellies.

Responding to criticism being levelled at the food industry over rising obesity levels, companies have voluntarily reformulated many of their products and introduced low salt, fat and sugar alternatives.
 
But ultimately, what consumers choose to eat should remain in their hands. If the government is going to take action on obesity, it should raise public awareness of dietary issues and educate people about the evils of trans fats etc in an accessible fashion.

To legislate what can and cannot be eaten is a draconian measure that pushes the idea of the nanny state a little too far. Are we destined for an Orwellian future where The Ministry of Plenty dictate what we eat? Double plus good though!

To read the BBC's full report, click here.

Katy Humphries, Deputy Editor


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