Professor Phil James @ 5x15 - The facts of obesity

Professor Phil James @ 5×15 – The facts of obesity



well I'm appalled to see so many people here and particularly worried because I haven't been able to see a single seriously obese individual now I suppose do you all come from South Kensington and so on and so Rosie set the thing and I didn't realize we were here to start a revolution and we'll have all sorts of debates during the course of this discussion better check the time but I'm told I've got to give you some facts well I was the crazy academic 45 years ago who wondered why middle-aged women were getting not just plump but you know really round and this was a very funny phenomenon and we produced the first government report and since then from about actually 1980 we've seen a complete explosion in the problem of the PSD here in the UK and it really took off roughly about 1980 in adults and in children and we thought that we were the crazy ones but some years ago they took our international standards for obesity in children and looked at a hundred years back in Australia beautiful analyses and then they react calculated it using our cutoff points which are almost identical with the new whu-oh cutoff points and they discovered that in 1980 Wow children suddenly started getting fatter and oddly enough since then we've discovered by about 1985 in the Caribbean Latin America the authors are to take you off and now almost wherever you go except until recently South East Asia it's about 1990 the epidemic took off and now in Britain we have 1/3 of children who are overweight is that word yes and one in five were classified by the pound as obese and everybody's been congratulating themselves we've taken real action both the Labour government and the Tories I mean it's fantastic actually if you look at the the graph we the adults are still getting fatter and the children haven't actually improved contrary to what people say for essentially the last eight to ten years so forget about this idea that we know what to do in terms of it past experience we haven't a clue now why should we be that worried well actually it's because this thing is going to break the National Health Service the commonest biggest complication and expense and we could hear about it later his diabetes and I've been reminded today that there are four million diabetics in this country and 700 new diabetics are diagnosed every day and the cost is ten billion a year for diabetes alone we don't have the latest cost for obesity and overweight in Britain but the McKinsey organization not a fancy left-wing group they came out with a value of two trillion dollars per year for obesity not just overweight in the piece of obesity two point eight percent of GDP is the problem and two trillion is the equivalent of the cost of all warfare and terrorism and armed conflict anywhere in the world and so we actually now look at a system which is going to bankrupt any Health Service I do a lot in the Middle East and already a fifth of the population there of adults 20-plus are already diabetic and I'm asking them to put in centers for the blind change the whole traffic system because everybody's going to have wheelchairs because they're going to have amputations and so on and they've got a hat establish kidney dialysis units galore because they're never going to cope in the next 10 15 years so the big question is why did this develop and everybody says well you know we're not exercising enough and that's true in a but it is true but have you realized that actually the car culture took off when I was a boy I played football in the streets and being in North Wales occasionally an English car came to and fro about every two hours you know but since then pretty well everybody's taking on cars in fact my mother used to have terrible trouble washing the clothes and we had enormous problem making the fire now people don't have to do that anymore they press buttons and then about 1985 when I was running a big Institute in Scotland I discovered that the user strange things called computers and now most of you are the guess earn your living simply sitting down twiddling your fingers now if you think about that that's the enormous reduction in physical activity and actually our food intake has gone down but what's happened with food we nearly starved during the Second World War and the whole of agricultural policy in the world was established by the British who got a prize from America for the brilliance of our analysis because we now knew that to be able to feed ourselves we needed didn't we because we were very short of food we needed plenty of energy butter fats oils sugar and meat so we introduced an agricultural policy which was fantastic hundreds of billions of pounds per year in effect on modern prices were put in to change it the whole agricultural system when I took to Scotland I walked in as this man medic taking of an agricultural funded Institute and discovered the farmers had a total hundred percent subsidy for anything that they wanted to do in terms of dairy systems sheds tractors and they had complete free advice so the whole of the food system was geared to generating fat meat and sugar and there's been a collapse in the price of these foods it's quite astonishing and in fact when I pretty introduced the idea in 1983 to these farmers and the academics and governments in the United States Canada I was told that I was a complete maniac whereas actually what we now realize is that we've actually funded on a deliberate government policy that's been applied across the world to change the whole food system in such a way that combined with the collapse in physical activity we are guaranteed as the chief scientist said nearly 10 years ago we guaranteed all of us to get fat under current circumstances and of course if you're rich and highly educated you're much more in control of your life and you can choose your foods but now we've got to the position where foods that are healthier a far more expensive roughly three times more expensive for an over all meal so incidentally wonder so actually the poorest people are now the fattest in Britain and we're seeing this pretty well throughout the world so what are we going to do about it well you know we've been educating people for a very long time and in fact I got fed up dealing with women's magazines in about 1985 where they were incessantly asking me to write stuff and telling them about it and since then the epidemic has taken off despite everything we've done so and it's been shown and numerous analyses if you put top 10 priorities for doing something then in fact education is number 10 it's the lowest priority because the evidence is it hasn't worked and actually the fast-food restaurants and so on now correlate beautifully not only with obesity but with deprivation deprivation because sugar and fat are so cheap so they can throw it into anything so what are we going to do well we've been trying to do something but tesage ow I put forward a childhood obesity report in when was it you know Tony Blair came in 1997 and I was on my way to w-h-o to set up an established the first ever obesity report for the whole world and she said all tell me what to do about her B's children I'm so worried about it so he produced a report and I put it into a didn't hear anything for several weeks and I was then called into our office and in three minutes told to get out of the room because I was such a crazy Marxist that this was quite unconscionable when I discovered around thirty six million pounds a year was paid by children bank suites and soft drinks on their way to and from school and she then told me I better go and talk to the the food and drink Federation of the ilysm representing the food which I did and I went for dinner started Tory by the Food Standards Agency and was stopped in immediately said no what about if children's report and they slammed me for four hours saying I was talking complete rubbish and each one of those proposals is now regarded as appropriate normal for children in other words we've had to change a whole way of thinking but we're still not been to individualism whether you're dealing with Blair or Cameron and Cameron sores just before he became prime minister he said obesity it's all your own fault and actually I'll do have nothing to harm the food industry so we're in an extraordinary position where the politicians of any shoe think it's all your your responsibility but the food industries I talk to them they know how to do it they manipulate the the product they put in flavors they look monitor neural chemistry and the response of pleasure centers in the brain they know that if they put the price they can manipulate the price they promote things and forty percent of all food in britain's now bought on the basis of promotions and they actually put the food everywhere so you're triggered an automatic oh we're very intelligent we go into a supermarket if you actually put things on the end of a row the sales go up two to five times if it's at eye level it's at least forty percent more they track the microseconds you stay on a label and you redo the label so that stops the automatic brain system only five percent of our decisions are consciously made so what are we going to do about it well well health and a whole series of groups are now said we've got to change the food system we've got to change the whole business of subsidy but it's a problem because we're still looking at a new world of free-market TTIP negotiations between America and Germany where in fact the price of sugar is going to collapse any manufacturers going to say this is wonderful because I can put this in and I can sell more food for nothing and so we are actually in a megacrisis because there's no way that any health services can manage unless we change the whole food system that's provided in any government institution and we should follow the France we're all marketing carries a health warning and they tack sugar and so on and unless we confront the fact that we can't operate on a nudge basis because Baroness Nyberg in the House of Lords produced a brilliant was saying nudging doesn't work unless you have a huge set of other things if only five percent of our decisions are conscious then we've got to arrange that the whole panorama of food so it's superb pleasurable and in fact we then have an appropriate new health world where from a planetary point of view we can sustain ourselves but actually we can rib live to a ripe old age that's the challenge please start the revolution

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