Tackling Scotland's obesity crisis

Jun 25 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Would it surprise you to know that Scotland has an obesity problem second only to the United States? It surprised the hell out of me, and apparently it did to Scottish health officials who are taking decisive action. According to the Financial Times, Scotland has an obesity rate of 22% of men and 24% of women.

While many might feel that this is a personal issue to be dealt with privately, the fact of the matter is that most of us spend the majority of our daylight hours at the office. In other words, it's at work where we are most likely to indulge bad habits, such as inactivity, sugary snacks, unbalanced meals, etc.

The Scottish response is to address the issue at the source in an original way. The government has commissioned software that would offer an interactive way of seeing the dangers of obesity or putting on too much weight. This software would be made available in companies across the country.

I agree with government officials that targeting companies in order to address the dangers of obesity is the right approach to take; I'm still not convinced that software is the way to address the issue.

For example, everyone knows the dangers of smoking yet they do it in light of massive ad campaigns against the issue. That's not to say we shouldn't try, but creating software doesn't seem like the most efficient idea to me.

Perhaps we could start by no longer selling cola or junk food at the office or taking away boxes of biscuits or pretzels.