So as you know I’m sugar free for Lent and this means I have turned my critical eye away from booze and my public health spotlight is on this substance instead. I saw this TED talk last Summer and have had it saved ever since as I knew the day would come when it would be called upon. It’s an American Paediatrician talking and gets good after 8 mins.
So why am I sharing this now? The news of late has been filled with stories of the current govt looking to cut benefit payments to those who are addicts or overweight. I cannot begin to express how much contempt I have for this idea. The similarities between alcohol and sugar in terms of their addictive quality, mass marketing and the govt response is striking. Plus booze is loaded with sugar so you have a double whammy effect. Although he makes jokes about alcohol being preferential to sugar I would obviously disagree and would argue that it should be on the list of required public health programmes along with sugar.
This specialist health care professional argues very eloquently why govt and corporate promotion of the ‘personal responsibility’ message ignores the fact that most people have limited knowledge and access and society can’t afford it. The govt are complicit seeing as they have not challenged the industries that manufacture the sugar filled crap that passes for food these days or the booze that is available pretty much anywhere 24/7 to provide the accurate knowledge, access to healthy alternatives and therefore options to reduce the cost burden on society. Both of these substances are addictive and yet the public health issue is being dodged because it is OUR fault that we got addicted to booze or are obese and therefore their response is to penalise those people further rather than tackle the corporations. GRRRR just doesn’t feel adequate enough a close to this post – Yosemite Sam it is then!!
25/02/15 Edited to add: interesting opinion piece from the London School of Economics that reads: ‘the proposal’s underlying strength remains its principles: that, firstly, sufferers should be actively helped and offered treatment but, secondly, that rejecting such treatment is intolerable.’ Read more here