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A nutritionists thoughts on the Government Obesity Strategy (we get spicy!)

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

It’s all well-meaning stuff I’m sure, but who in the world is advising the government on this stuff?!

First things first, I don’t personally think that GPs are the best people to be prescribing diet and exercise advice – they are notoriously undereducated on this stuff. The NHS are not focussed on preventative measures, they are fighting fires rather than getting to it at its source which is what really needs to happen here. Rather what should happen, in my humble opinion, is that GPs should refer out to GOOD QUALITY coaches in lifestyle, nutrition and exercise. Personal trainers and the like should ‘stay in their lane’, we know that, perhaps we ought to apply this same concept to medical professionals who do not have expertise in this area.

Secondly, why, oh why should GPs be offered incentives to ensure that obese people are given support?! It’s the job of the National Health Service to take care of unhealthy and unwell individuals, is it not?

PLEASE let’s utilise the experts in the health and fitness industry – although it is pivotal to ensure we use to correct people. There are some really poor personal trainers and so-called ‘coaches’ but there are also some pretty amazing ones that really care, do their research and know their stuff.

Next up, banning advertising exposure to children. Children are NOT the problem! Children mimic the behaviour of those that they are around the most – if parents live well, it’s likely that their children will too. Many, many adults don’t know that basics about how to live well. The advertising will still be there when the kids have gone to bed and the adults are having their hour to themselves on the sofa digging into a share bag of Doritos followed by ALL the Hobnobs.

People, unfortunately believe so much of the nutrition rubbish that is thrown around through no fault of their own, the questions I commonly get asked by people are astounding. We MUST work to educate people and get to the problem at its root cause. Weight Watchers DO NOT educate well and signposting the overweight to Weight Watchers and Slimming World as suggested, to me, is obscene and really quite worrying. I’m not over here saying it doesn’t work for some but amongst all its other flaws (a chat for another day), we are placing way too much focus on weight loss – PLEASE let’s focus on moving and living well. The research tells us that fitness-based interventions work far better than weight driven approaches (Barry Et Al – 2014) – and let’s face it, when people get moving more, they will likely experience weight loss anyway! That and people are generally far more likely to make more optimal food choices when they FEEL better through activity than being shamed at Weight Watchers every week.

It's frankly pretty mortifying that requiring restaurants and cafes to include calorie counts on their menus is part of the plan – most people, I know, do not suffer from an eating disorder, however, this is the quickest way to triggering those that do and is beyond dangerous. People die from eating disorders…all the time!

Maybe we start to show a little compassion to those that struggle, maybe we start to educate those that need it, most often it’s a mental well-being issue that needs to be addressed, why don’t we focus our efforts there? Let’s make exercise more accessible, especially community based exercise, let’s make good quality food affordable (food poverty is more real than you know) and let’s PLEASE get someone in Boris’ ear that knows their arse from their elbow.

Peace and Love, A x

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