Do you think that you’re a generous person? For example, if someone had a life threatening condition would you dip your hand in your pocket to help them out? Would you cough up, say, £50 a week to give them a chance at a happier and healthier existence?
The latest proposal to help curb obesity is for YOU (the taxpayer) to pay for weight loss classes and/or meal replacement diets for those who are dangerously overweight; how do you feel about that? Apparently weight loss programmes and/or meal replacement diets are cheaper for the NHS to fund than stomach stapling and are definitely the safer and, arguably, healthier option for the patient but is it something that the taxpayer should be coughing up for?
You can say that obesity is self-inflicted and that any health problems result from personal food choices so why should you have to pay for someone else’s bad decisions? The problem with that is that, although obesity related health problems are a strain on the NHS, so are smoking related health problems, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, health issues caused by stress and illnesses that result from genetics or for no other reason than it’s just luck of the draw. At some point we will all need the services of doctors and nurses and, in the UK, it’s the tax payer that will foot the bill for our treatment.
What would happen if that were not the case for people who were morbidly obese? Some would argue that making life more expensive for those who are overweight with a ‘sugar tax’ or a ‘fat tax’ (higher prices for larger sized clothes) or the withdrawal of free treatment would improve their condition. Has that worked for smokers, drug addicts or alcoholics? No, so why would it work for any other kind of addict?
If the NHS wants to reduce their costs that are attributable to obesity perhaps they should consider dealing with the cause rather than the symptoms – instead of putting together programmes that recommend different foods or smaller portions, wouldn’t it be better to look at WHY people are over eating in the first place? Many of the problems with the body originate in the mind so why not start there when we’re looking for answers?
My feeling is that by concentrating on the emotional reasons for over eating as well as the addictive element, long term solutions to obesity could be found rather than people suffering the effects of yo-yo dieting or invasive surgery. Is THAT something that the NHS should be paying for? In my opinion yes but what do you think?
Should the NHS provide treatment for ‘self-inflicted’ illnesses? I’d love to read your comments