‘Heath campaigners’ have stepped up their fight against liberal, market economics by blaming Western systems which encourage the freedom of consumption for growing obesity rates in Britain and America.
Joining their compatriots from the green lobby, UK Health Forum campaigners have declared that capitalism is to blame for the ills of obesity and poor health, claiming that liberal economies encourage ‘overconsumption’.
Instead of placing the blame at the feet of consumers and encouraging individual responsibility, the warnings from the research and lobby group blame market economics and corporations that advertising unhealthy products.
The Telegraph reports: “The UK has one of the worst rates in Europe and three out of four men will be at risk of heart disease or stroke in the next 16 years.
“Currently around 66 per cent of men are overweight or obese and 57 per cent of women. However 74 per cent of men will be overweight or obese by 2030 and 64 per cent of women.”
Report author Dr Laura Webber of the UK Health Forum urged higher taxes on sugary drinks and government subsidies for fruit and vegetables:
“Our study presents a worrying picture of rising obesity across Europe. Policies to reverse this trend are urgently needed,” said said.
“The UK and Ireland, where obesity prevalence is among the highest, possess unregulated liberal market economies similar to the US, where the collective actions of big multinational food companies to maximise profit encourages over-consumption.
“We need policies to improve the nutritional content of processed foods by reducing sugars and fats and we need to help consumers understand what is in the food they eat.”
The campaigners have suggested that the trend could lead to an extra cost of £19.2bn a year for Britain’s National Health Service – a system that currently goes through over £100bn of government funding each year and has been marred by wasteful spending stories, sex scandals, clinical negligence episodes and more. The service is said by many to be no longer fit for purpose, though the prevailing consensus remains in Britain that the NHS is a good thing.
Dr Webber added: “We need comprehensive package of approaches to support healthy eating and more physical activity in daily life.
“Must recognise that we live in an increasingly obesogenic environment which encourages over-consumption of energy dense foods and discourages physical activity.
“We need to protect children from this environment – important to restrict unhealthy food marketing to children on all media and in settings where children gather such as schools.”
“We need to make healthier food more affordable and less healthy food less so, by using taxes on sugary drinks for example and subsidies on fruit and vegetables.”