Monday 27 September 2010

Paid to lose weight?

The country is facing crippling debt and Britain's deficit requires substantial cuts in the government budget to stabilise the economy in the long run. And some how, we are seriously debating whether people should be paid to lose weight and quit smoking.

It was good to see Fiona McEvoy from The TaxPayers' Alliance on BBC breakfast this morning pointing out just how ludicrous this proposal is. As front line NHS services are at risk, those who choose to do things that potentially harm their body and quality of life are to be rewarded for changing their habits. All will be paid for, of course, by the hard working taxpayer's who are rewarded for living a healthy lifestyle by paying others to do the same.

Practically, this proposal is crackers. It is well known that smokers can relapse very easily. A 28 day period of quitting could mean nothing to the person involved, except for a period during which they stop smoking in order to cash in before resuming. As for being paid for losing weight, will it be by the pound? It is well documented that those who crash diet (presumably in this case for a greater cash reward) will still be engaging in poor dietary habits.

Oh, and please note: the debate is about whether the scheme is extended, not introduced. There are plenty of examples of this type of rubbish going on in Britain. Just look: here, here and here.