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Make it happen again
27th June 2018

Latest Health News Weather  

HealthChat - Jeremy Hunt - 11th July - few tickets left
Make it happen again...
News and Comment from Roy Lilley
One thing is for sure; unless we buck our ideas up about so-called 'public health' we will spend the rest of our time running up the down escalator.

Governments have done the obvious and easy things.  Clean water, adult literacy and childhood immunisation.  Beyond that, it's up to us.

Anyone who doesn't understand a large-latte-to-go and a chocolate muffin is anything but lethal, fattening and a bad idea, is beyond hope.  

We are responsible for what goes into our mouths, no one else.  And, what goes into our kids.  End of...

This argument was finessed by Thomas McKeown, the only public health doctor who has had any impact on my thinking.  In 1969 he wrote, in terms; 

'... governments have done all they can, clean water, adult literacy and childhood immunisation.  The rest is up to the extent government is prepared to interfere in the lives of ordinary people...'

He was discussing the emergence of the 'nanny state'. 

So, we have legislation.  Crash helmets, seat belts, smoking in the workplace.  Health and safety palaver and all the rest.  Legislation works.  It changes behaviour.

Now, we have the latest instalment.  Another report.  This one about obesity and making our kids thin by 2030.  It's the usual wish list, consultation and time frames no one will ever check.  Most of the report centres on the State doing what my mum and thousands like her, did for me... 

Turn ingredients into a meal.  Say 'no' and mean it and understand tough love is the best love in the world.  

Apparently, the government is going to find ways to do it for us with laws and regulation.  Well, good luck with that.

If this is your 'thing', the OECD have a much better read, it's their 'Update 2017'.

Here are some sobering factoids for you;
  • More than one in two adults and nearly 1 in 6 children are overweight in OECD countries.
  • Social inequalities in overweight and obesity are strong, especially among women. In about half of the eight countries for which data are available, less-educated women are two to three times more likely to be overweight than those with a higher level of education.
  • In the last few years, some OECD countries have relied on fiscal policies to increase the price of potentially unhealthy products to encourage a healthier diet such as in Belgium, Chile, Finland, France, Hungary and Mexico.
  • Comprehensive policy packages, including not only communication but also school-based interventions, interventions in primary care settings, and broader regulatory and fiscal policies, provide an affordable and cost-effective solution to tackle obesity.
Read it for yourself.  The undertone; none of this is really working.  It's a slippery slope everywhere.  To be honest that doesn't tell us very much either but the graph on page five is a stonker! Here it is...

Obesity in children 3-17yrs.  In the UK it peaked in 2005 and went progressively down, to 2012 recovered a rise and is flattening now for boys but building for girls.

Do you know why?  I have no idea but we need to know.  Before we embark on another cockamamie policy to 'do something', we need to understand the 'something' we are trying to fix.  What can we learn from this?

Are we trying to fix social inequity, education, family life... what?

What happened in 2004/5?  

Same sex marriage was affirmed in the US.  Canada's PM appointed a gender equal cabinet.  NASA found water on Mars.  The Church of England woke up and appointed a female Bishop and the WHO announced the Ebola epidemic, over...

... I doubt any of that has a bearing on our kids.  In 2012 we had the Olympics on our door-step.  What happened to the legacy?

What happened in 2005?  What happened in 2012?  Was it the end of the Sure Start policy?  Was it the bite of austerity, families resorting to cheap food and food-banks.  

Was it parents working their backsides off, with zero hours contracts and the schools taking on the role of proxy-parents?

What happened to our kids in 2005 that we must make happen again?  
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>>  I'm hearing -  some serious talk at the BMA conference about the future of primary care practice.  GP leaders have a history of crying wolf, but this year there is serious talk about the likes of Babylon and the sustainability of the contractor model.  A lot hinges on the outcome of the negotiations on the new contract... of which there is little news.

Jeremy Hunt
in conversation with Roy Lilley
RSM - London 
11th July
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