Poll: Obese should pay more towards NHS

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nearly two-thirds of respondents thought the overweight should pay more
Nearly two-thirds of respondents thought the overweight should pay more

Related tags: Nutrition, Obesity

The cost of combating Britain’s obesity crises should not be footed by the taxpayer and consumers who overindulge should instead pay more towards the National Health Service (NHS).

That’s according to the results of a FoodManufacture.co.uk opinion poll, which asked readers if obese people should pay more for NHS care.

Almost two thirds (60%) of those taking part in the poll would not foot the bill for individuals’ poor lifestyle choices (at the time of writing).

Just a quarter (24%) of respondents would be more than happy to foot the bill for a person’s poor diet, while 1% were unsure and 14% of respondents asked for the jam donuts.

The poll followed the controversial opinion of Eric Hilton​, vice president of business strategy at the nutraceuticals firms Park Acre, who called for nutritional means testing at a Nutrition Integrates conference in London last month.

‘They think it’s OK

One reader’s view

1)​ Why single out one ‘abuse’? What about excessive alcohol intake, abuse of drugs, self-harming driving in any way which may be deemed to cause an accident.
2)​ Until food manufacturers and retailers start putting as much effort into removing unhealthy items from their product lists and encouraging healthy living as they have done to putting them there and encouraging unhealthy living, perhaps it is they who should pay.
3)​ Who says the ‘experts’ have it right about obesity? There is an awful lot of untruth put out by self-styled experts (including the medical profession).

“They ​[people] become obese because they think it’s OK,” ​Hilton told the conference. “They’ve got the NHS as a solution. But that needs to change.”

If people showed they were more active and they cared for their health, then they should pay less towards the NHS, he added.

While those who over indulged and didn’t exercise should contribute more because they would be more of a burden on the NHS, Hilton claimed.

Hilton’s comments sparked outrage among some FoodManufacture.co.uk readers. One argued: “The idea of the obese paying for NHS treatment is poorly thought out for a number of reasons ​(see panel).”

Another reader added: “What a load of bull****. If this man is a vice president of business strategy, Lord help us.”

Obese was contentious

Readers also took to social media to give their opinions and Paul Kaye, managing partner at executive search firm PFK Partners, said on LinkedIn​ that the idea of taxing the obese was contentious and instead questioned whether a tax on unhealthy food should be implemented.

Should obese people pay more for NHS care?

Yes: 60%
No: 24%
Pass the jam donuts: 14%
Don’t know: 1%

One other reader called for the medical system to be looked into. She said: “I’m considered obese, even though I exercise regularly … and my diet is healthier than most skinny people.

“We need to understand inflammation and the microbiome of the gut before we start pointing fingers.”

Meanwhile, experts from the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh hiked up the pressure industry to help tackle the UK’s obesity​ epidemic by making products healthier.

The college warned that being overweight was now considered “the norm”, ​and claimed a tax on sugary food and drinks would help fund the “spiralling” ​healthcare costs associated with the issue.

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So where do you draw the line?

Posted by Dave Peters,

So what about people with sports injuries?People who drink alcohol? Smoke tobacco? Risk contacting AIDS? Travel to dangerous places like Tunisia? Sit in the sun? Develop rickets? Wilfully become old? etc

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Outdated thinking

Posted by Howard,

The old , outdated, and clearly wrong notion that calories in = caloies out or weight changes has been shown to be absurd and false as is the notion that all calories (fat, protein, carbohydrate) are handled equally by the body. All the new microbiome research on the effect of gut bacteria on weight gain, loss, or maintenance needs to be force fed to the old style nutritionists who won't learn anything new.

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Posted by Liza,

They should pay for it! an no way should fast food restaurants make their food more healthier! Hard working people like myself like to indulge in fatty foods every so often.. Just learn how to exercise, don't make everyone miss out cause your to lazy to exercise..

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