Sunday, December 17, 2006
Everyone's read (and many ignored) the 'Smoking kills' type warnings on cigarette packets.
Health experts in the UK are now advocating applying a similar type of health warning to larger size clothing in an attempt to stem the obesity empidemic.
Professor Naveed Sattar, from the University of Glasgow, is advocating that oversized clothing should have obesity help line numbers sewn on to labels. It's proposed that such labels would appear on all clothes sold with a waist of more than 40in for men and 37in for boys, women’s garments with a waist of more than 35in or size 16 or above, and more than 31in for girls.
Granted, it's only one of several proposals put forward in the British Medical Journal on combatting obesity (full reference below although you'll need a subscription to read the article). Most of the suggestions don't really offer anything groundbreaking though, despite the author stressing the need to think outside the box. Another key suggestion is the taxation of high sugar, high salt foods. Given the limited success of a similar tax on cigarettes, the only consequence I foresee is the swelling of government coffers. It can be argued, of course, that this will counteract some of the additional health costs that accrue from obesity related conditions.
But back to the label.
What does it add?
People with weight issues often have a complex relationship with food and measures like this completely ignore the psychological aspects of weight gain. Many people who carry excess weight suffer from depression and low self-esteem. Struggling to find clothes that fit and then finding a helpline number attached, doesn't that have the potential to aggravate emotional distress and exacerbate the problem?
Personally, I think it will have little influence. I also think it's highly intrusive. What do you think? A much needed kick in the pants or overzealous?
I wanted to set up a poll but technical ignoramus as I am, I couldn't seem to generate the code.
Now, who's game to tell this guy?
Lean, M., Gruer, L., Alberti, G., & Sattar, N. (2006). Obesity—can we turn the tide? British Medical Journal, 333, 1261-1264
Obesity could bankrupt the NHS