Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A good reason to battle the bulge

According to an article on Yahoo News
A recent study suggests that as rates of obesity soar, cancer is likely to strike thousands more British citizens. Excess weight is believed to be behind nearly 4 per cent of all cancers.

Professor Tim Key, Cancer Research UK epidemiologist and expert on diet and cancer, said: "It is now well established that being overweight increases the risk of developing several types of cancer.

"The effects on breast and womb cancer are almost certainly due to the increased production of the hormone oestrogen in the fatty tissue." Continue reading.

I heard a strange debate on the radio yesterday about whether or not the NHS (UK National Health Service) should fund dance classes for the obese to help them lose weight. People were calling in complaining that the taxpayer would have to fit the bill for something which was essentially a self-induced illness, caused by laziness and greed. Much like treating cancers and illnesses related to smoking.

In principle I think these classes are a nice idea. Exercising alone can be daunting and a lonely enterprise, especially with no-one to encourage you. Also making it fun means people enjoy it more, and it doesn't feel like hard work. But the truth is millions are spent each year on unused gym memberships - and this is something people (who are body/health conscious) actually pay for out of their own pockets and still don't utilise.

So sure - go ahead and put this in place, because there are always one or two people who will benefit. I'd also suggest a nominal fee of something like £2 per class, as opposed to making it totally free. I think if you put a value on something, people feel they want to get their money's worth, and may commit to it a bit more. But, as much as I hate saying it, I'd also not be surprised if the scheme fails to successfully take off, thanks to the fact that most of us are just innately lazy. Which reminds me, I really really need to get back to the gym.

Picture: Richard Simmons

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