ITV News – Obese Communities in Crisis

ITV News is featuring the South Yorkshire town of Doncaster in its series of news specials on obesity. Why? Because Doncaster has one of the highest levels of obesity in the country. Doncaster has become a blighted community, blighted by the curse of obesity.

Obesity is a far more serious problem than many people think. Why? Because it’s socially contagious. You are 60% more likely to become obese if your friends or family are obese. Being obese can become socially acceptable, it can become the norm in a community. It is already a contagion that is putting healthcare resources under severe strain in Doncaster. If its spread across the country is not checked, the NHS will soon be unable to cope. Scarce resources will be allocated to diseases, the causes of which are entirely preventable.

What is even more alarming is the insidious nature of obesity. It slowly destroys the heart of a community. It disables people physically making even the simplest tasks a chore, and it reduces brain function. Perhaps we are all destined to be like the people on the spaceship Axiom in the Pixar movie Wal-e! Let’s hope we come to our senses before then. More details please

So what’s the answer? There is only one possible answer and that is that the community has to change. It has to change its behaviour. The catalyst for that change must be the community itself. How does it change? By learning new eating and lifestyle habits – slim habits.

The drivers of change have to be groups within the community, ‘slimpals’, if you like, who set the example. As obesity’s socially contagious, there is no reason why being slim can’t be contagious too! Correctly managed and given the right publicity and resources, the spirit of change could catch on very easily.

The publicity that Doncaster is receiving from ITV could be used to get people’s attention and to generate enthusiasm. It will need a coordinated plan to implement the program, but it is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. Doncaster could well become the slimmest and fittest town in the country – why not!

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