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Who should be responsible for keeping us healthy?

09:41 UK time, Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Councils are to be put in charge of encouraging healthier lifestyles under plans to be unveiled by ministers. Should councils be in responsible for encouraging healthy living?

The government believes the wider remit of councils in areas such as housing, transport and leisure puts them in a stronger position to tackle smoking, drinking and obesity in England.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told the BBC: ""We have got to arrive at a point where politicians stop just telling people how to be healthy but actually help them to do it." The public health White Paper will say the key to encouraging healthier behaviour lies in creating the right environment and then "nudging" people into making different choices.

Employers will also be told they have an important role in helping and supporting staff as well.

Should government take a "less intrusive" approach to public health? How much is it up to government to set the healthy living agenda? Will the plans help reduce the gap between rich and poorer areas? Do people need to do more to help themselves?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Ourselves.

  • Comment number 2.

    Who should be responsible for keeping us healthy?

    We should be ... personal responsibility. My life, my choices.

    Certainly the Government, the NHS, Local Councils, should not be responsible, at all.

    Give us information and advice by all means, providing it is scientifically based information and advice, advice based on sound science and not simply dubious statistical inference. But, keep the preaching, cajoling, persuading, arm-twisting, attempted-shaming to yourselves please. Mind your own business ... my life, my choices.

  • Comment number 3.

    Councils are to be put in charge of encouraging healthier lifestyles.

    Will councils simply increase our Council Tax, (40% increase in last 6yrs, btw) in spite of funding from NHS 'promised' by Andrew Lansley? Or cut more jobs to create new jobs like headless chickens?

    OR, will councils do the right thing, get their act together and DEMAND European funding, that we already pay for - and other European countries benefit from for such schemes - while on their European twinning jollies?

    Just a few thoughts.

  • Comment number 4.

    While the government can educate and inform people about health and lifestyle choices at the end of the day it`s down to individuals to implement those choices, although i have to say those on low incomes will be hard pushed to afford healthy food and gym memberships. As long as people do what they can, no matter how little that may be, then at least they`re trying.

  • Comment number 5.

    I know poor people and I also know very wealthy people who smoke, drink and eat the wrong food. Its very easy for goverments to always blame peoples lifestyles for bad health, but they are very selective, binge drinking and smoking are very bad for you but the goverment won't ban 24 hour drinking and cheap supermarket booze because the middle classes like their cheap booze so thats a no go area .

  • Comment number 6.

    Unless this health money is ring-fenced councils will use the cash to pad their extravagant lifestyles and fatcat pensions.

    Our locally elected clergy will enjoy pontificating to the unwashed serfs, that's all they're any good for nowadays anyway.

    Yet another golden opportunity for our finger wagging middle classes to receive free government handouts.

    This nanny state mentality continues no matter who runs things, tories, labour, all the same, not much point in voting for them.

  • Comment number 7.

    This is totally ridiculous. NANNY STATE.. how about the government controlling the food stuffs in the super markets?
    California and MacDonalds seems to be the way.
    If there is no 'junk'food to buy then we will all eat healthy meals.
    It's NOT rocket science people!!!!
    As I say in the middle of a famine, one does not see any fat people, what goes in maketh the man!!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Should government take a "less intrusive" approach to public health?

    ABSOLUTELY, YES, CERTAINLY.


    How much is it up to government to set the healthy living agenda?

    NOT AT ALL, NOT WHAT I ELECT GOVERNMENTS FOR, NOT WHAT I WANT MY TAXES WASTED ON.


    Will the plans help reduce the gap between rich and poorer areas?

    NO IDEA.


    Do people need to do more to help themselves?

    NO ... PEOPLE NEED TO DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES ... THEIR LIVES, THEIR CHOICES.

  • Comment number 9.

    Councils should confine themselves to doing what we pay them to do ie, gritting roads and clearing pavements when it snows. How many people ended up in hospital last year because of accidents that happened as a result of councils dereliction of duty? Is what they're suggesting another ploy to increase the council leaders already obscenely high pay or to get one of their cronies into a cushy job?

  • Comment number 10.

    Self Motivated, self caring, responsible and educated to know nutritional values - yourself!

  • Comment number 11.

    The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.

  • Comment number 12.

    We are responsible.
    No more tax money to corrupt councillors creaming off in "expenses and allowances" for administration

  • Comment number 13.

    Should councils be in responsible for encouraging healthy living?


    NO.

    NO WAY, NO HOW.

    DO NOT WASTE MY TAXES.


  • Comment number 14.

    This is the unacceptable face of an intrusive state.

    By all means warn people about this or that and then leave it to the individual to make an informed choice.

    If an individual wants to smoke on private premises let them, if someone wants to eat a rib eye steak (remember when the Government initially banned them due to the 0.00001% chance of getting mad cow disease) and if an individual wants to drink copious amounts of alcohol let them.

    These people pay their taxes and its not for the Government to pressure them into doing one thing or another.

  • Comment number 15.

    It is our own responsibility to keep ourselves healthy. It is the councils responsibility to provide reasonably priced leisure/gym facilities to ensure accessibility for ALL, (this is not happening).

    There is too much nannying going on in to pretty much every facet of our lives, it's no wonder some sections of society think that everything should be provided by government/councils.

  • Comment number 16.

    Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told the BBC: "We have got to arrive at a point where politicians stop just telling people how to be healthy ..."

    Hear, hear. About time. Politicians ... keep your noses out of my business.


    "... but actually help them to do it."

    No, no, no! Information and advice, that's all. No help, no waste of my taxes. My life, my choices.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    The public health White Paper will say the key to encouraging healthier behaviour lies in creating the right environment and then "nudging" people into making different choices.


    NO IT ISN'T THE KEY. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS GOVERNMENT. MY LIFE, MY CHOICES. KEEP YOUR NOSES OUT.

  • Comment number 19.

    There are really two issues here.

    The obvious answer to 'who is responsible for keeping us healthy' is 'ourselves' - but then the NHS has to pick up the pieces. So, maybe there should be some central pressure on us to stay healthy - as long as we have the 'universal NHS' that we have now.

    Another way of putting pressure on us may be for the 'universal' cover of the NHS just to be emergency care, and have a state health insurance scheme (as they do in other European countries) funded in a same way as NI. So, it wouldn't need to cost more (for someone with a healthy lifestyle), but it would be more transparent than now.

    Then, the cost of health premiums could be affected by lifestyle choices made by the individual. If someone wants to smoke, then fine, but their premiums go up. If someone wants to drink heavily, overeat, under-exercise, then fine, but their premiums go up. People on benefits get basic cover for free, but any extra comes off their benefits.

    As long as it's only lifestyle choices which affect the premiums then I can't see what's wrong with that.

  • Comment number 20.

    Healthy living is a personal choice, the last government realised they could save the NHS a few quid by telling us we were all fat and unhealthy and by turning it into guilt within the population.

    We then got to the stage where larger people were openly abused or discriminated against, and all from a government who preached equality and diversity!

    Now even more money is going to be wasted by giving it to the councils! The most wasteful band of organisations on the planet. Genius, i dont think!

    Lets have a purge on councils and councillors expenses first, they will make MPs look like choir boys............

  • Comment number 21.

    Ourselves in the first instance.

    However, given we have an NHS that is free to all at the point of delivery. That it is paid for by everyones taxes, the vast majority who do not smoke, drink to excess or take drugs we should expect the government to take steps to reduce their usage.

    As for the wider remit for councils. What a load of tosh. Where's the money coming from to set up the "help" programmes? Central government has already cut funding by 20%. It's yet another central government Pontious Pilate moment. They can turn round to the electorate and say it's all local governments fault.

    Employers - Aren't they already complaining bitterly about the "red tape". We can all guess what "help" Bounderby and his mates will provide.

  • Comment number 22.

    Oh, great. I can see it now...
    Local councils hike parking fees to astronomical levels to 'encourage us to leave our cars at home and go shopping by bike..'
    All bus lanes expanded to take over the whole street...
    Neighbourhood Watch schemes require all residents to join 'street jogging groups'...
    Council tax to be variable dependent on whether you smoke and/or drink - with punitive fines for not 'fessing up...
    I'llthink of some more likely outcomes in due course...

  • Comment number 23.

    I think the state needs to back off.

    We expect clean water, safe food, health care when needed, and protection from noxious or harmful substances.

    There comes a point at which we make our own choices. We can play sport and damage joints and ligaments; we can eat too many pork pies; we can drink too many beers; life is a risk whatever we choose.

    Isn't the most important thing that we don't harm uninvolved others in our risktaking activities? e.g. don't drink and drive.

    We know the benefit of a healthy lifestyle- we only need to walk, to stop smoking, to reduce drinking, change our diet, whatever, we already know. Isn't that enough?

  • Comment number 24.

    There are a host of reasons why local councils should not be involved in this:

    1. Cronyism - My relation owns a leisure centre, let's promote it.
    2. Cost - Everything local councils do costs way above the odds and requires 10 relatives to be employed to oversee it.
    3. Personal prejudice - I don't drink - Why should you?

    Andrew Lansley's comments are a little sinister to me. Does he mean help people to get healthier through advice and access to facilities, or does he mean tax, ban and social engineer? I suspect the latter. I thought we had got away from this.



  • Comment number 25.

    Ourselves!
    Anything strategic should be UK-common and certainly NOT local councils.

  • Comment number 26.

    This is a land of plenty & those who wish to indulge their physical appetites can do so to their hearts' content, only the heart cannot take it. It is a spiritual malaise & there is nothing Local Councils or the Government can do about it. I should simply advise the Obese, Overweight & those living an unhealthy lifestyle to submit to a vigorous physical regime of work & exercise or have it imposed on them or, failing that, to accept that they are constantly courting death & no one is responsible for that except themselves.

  • Comment number 27.

    Governments should stop telling us what to eat, drink, do, unless the activities are illegal.

  • Comment number 28.

    So much for Cameron's plans to reduce the role of government then!

  • Comment number 29.

    The NHS.

    Its too easy to just say 'us'. When it comes to healthcare, I believe in the NHS-style healthcare and not the corrupt sick system of the US where doctors see you based on your money as opposed to how you're feeling.

    I thank my stars everyday I'm not an American.

  • Comment number 30.

    "17. At 11:04am on 30 Nov 2010, bluepencil wrote:
    Never mind this issue. We need to debate the BBC's decision to broadcast their Panorama programme on FIFA bribery 2 days before the world cup location is announced

    In the event of the UK not getting the world cup the BBC should be prepared for the biggest customer backlash ever known."
    ====================================================


    In your dreams mate, in your dreams.

  • Comment number 31.

    It sounds like the double dealing coalition is doing it yet again.Instead of getting rid of the over paid health"experts"that do sod all in the national health they want to transfer them to councils no doubt for us to fund through council tax.The last thing anyone wants is self indulgent councils interfering further in our lives.They are certain to find some way of making more money from the issue.Our health is our responsibility and if people go down the road of over eating,no exercise,smoking and drinking thats their problem.Its the government who allow unhealthy processed food junk on the stores shelves with chemical e numbers,taste enhances that make you want more and cheap booze to rot your liver.Its a little late now for most as they are addicted to junk food and booze which is the whole idea of it.If e numbers and chemicals in food,alcohol and cigarettes were new proposed products on the market they would doubtlessly be banned immediately on safety grounds.Governments do not want another generation living past their 80s as its unaffordable so its easier to make you die young and therefore not draw your pensions.

  • Comment number 32.

    Too much interference by councils or government is not constructive, in the main, we are responsible for our own and our family's health. Councils with the support of the government should act in a passive way to encourage a healthier lifestyle, like stopping parking around schools (get kids and their parents to walk)and stop on-street parking (it's easy to nip down the road in your car when it is parked outside) and stop all parking on cycle tracks.

  • Comment number 33.

    The purpose of this is that when, because of funding cuts, health outcomes start falling the Condemned Government can try to shift the blame onto local authorities,despite the fact that it has cut the funding they have to carry out these tasks.

  • Comment number 34.

    What is this all about !!!!!!!!!! the only time I hear from our council is to tell me the rates bill has gone up that makes me feel very unhealthy to start . Sounds like a another waste of time as is how happy we are please spare us this lunacy.

  • Comment number 35.

    As this coalition of the right have invited the fast and junk food companies onto their health advisory bodies, we can assume that the nation's health is also being opened to market forces.
    The last time the Tories were in power they allowed Coca-Cola and McDonald's into schools, toigether with their 'educational' fact sheets.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 38.

    Here's a newsflash.

    People are responsible for themselves (and their kids).

    Its only control freaks like Bliar and Nu Liebour who make you think otherwise because it gives them a purpose and a justification to gorge at the trough.

  • Comment number 39.

    Ultimately, we are responsible for keeping ourselves healthy. However, when we fall by the wayside the NHS then has to pick us up and patch us up. ( If they can.) This can be an enormously expensive business. Society benefits from a healthy population. It therefore makes sense for government, or local councils, to keep us informed on healthy issues, surely? If we choose to ignore advice, well, as people on here love to say, that is up to us. Our choice, don't bully us. There are consequences to binge drinking, smoking and eating lots of pies and someone has to pay the cost of treatment. I think we ignore good advice at our peril. But your choice, matey !

  • Comment number 40.

    So simple, it so shows how indoctrinated many have become by the nanny state. OUR lives are OUR responsibility. In a civilised society WE, look after those who cannot look after themselves. I am afraid that in the last 15 years the British culture has changed to the point where we think it is a human right for the state to take over many functions which should be OUR own responsibility. The feckless, lazy, immoral and immature prosper in this culture. This HAS to change, but I fear the lies of the loony left.

  • Comment number 41.

    So, Andrew Lansley is going to create a new public health service that will provide advice and support on issues such as health protection, nutrition and treatment? He clearly has not done his research. Is he not aware that there is already a perfectly good service doing this, or at least there was until his goverment came along with their money-slashing tendencies. As one of many council employees working in health promotion and about to be lose my job, I'm wondering who he thinks will do this work?

    He talks about schemes to incentivise, for example, children to walk to school, at the same time as his government is cutting funding for the highly successful Walk to School programme that has transformed the number of children walking and cycling to school over recent years, the Healthy Schools programme that has supported schools to play a major role in promoting healthy lifestyles, not to mention the slashing of funding for the School Sports Partnerships.

    Yet again it seems the Tories want to take credit for something that is already working and effective.

  • Comment number 42.

    'Although i have to say those on low incomes will be hard pushed to afford healthy food and gym memberships. As long as people do what they can, no matter how little that may be, then at least they`re trying.'

    I disagree with the comment about healthy food. It is NOT expensive to eat healthily. Buy fresh food from the local fruit & veg shop and from the local butcher. COOK your food from scratch with wholesome ingredients. Bulk cook and freeze portions for weekday suppers. Supplement with cheap vegetables, potatoes, pasta or rice. It's not expensive. I made 8 portions of spagetti bolognese last night. Cost about £10 for the ingredients - that's £1.25 per portion (plus a few pence for a portion of pasta to go with it). A lot cheaper and tastier than a processed ready meal and much much better for you. Believe me, mum's really should't shop at Iceland...

  • Comment number 43.

    "29. At 11:14am on 30 Nov 2010, Planet Mars wrote:
    The NHS.

    Its too easy to just say 'us'. When it comes to healthcare, I believe in the NHS-style healthcare and not the corrupt sick system of the US where doctors see you based on your money as opposed to how you're feeling.

    I thank my stars everyday I'm not an American."
    ================================================


    The reason it's so easy to "... just say 'us'." is because it's the correct answer!!!!


    I suspect the Americans thank their starts every day that you're not an American!!! Patronising and arrogant, or what.

  • Comment number 44.

    WHY IS THIS EVEN A QUESTION?

    Who the heck else except the person involved?

    Mind your own business!

  • Comment number 45.

    We are all responsible for keeping ourselves healthy, and especially responsible for keeping our younger children healthy until they are old enough to make informed choices.
    The best we can hope for is reliable health information from either central or local Govt.

    The old saying...

    "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink"

    ...is definitely pertinent in this case.

  • Comment number 46.

    There are two ways in which this can be interpreted. One is mind control. The other is grooming the public to accept increased taxes.

    Either way, nobody will dare to speak out against it; because all their opponents need do is accuse them of supporting death by obesity or wasting NHS resources.

  • Comment number 47.

    Put public transport back under council control with a chain of command going right back to government. Public transport should be regular and reliable and cheap enough for workers to get to work. There should be more community centers in poorer areas, to provide daily cheap healthy meals for very low income families.
    These centers should also provide information, advice and basic training. Councils have a duty of care to provide adequate resources for those without the means to help and improve themselves. As there is a significant lack of work available, then the unemployed should have the opportunity to help run these centers in order to gain transferable skills knowledge and understanding for future employment. Any unemployed person assisting running a community centre should have a program of learning suitable for their skill level, followed through with an updated CV to show evidence of such learning.

    Maintain Sure Start and develop it into a community based general organisation, assisting everyone from cradle to grave within their own community. Provide real teachers other professional personnel to be the professionally paid leaders of community centers.

    There should also be easy links to-and-from charitable organisations to build infrastructure using shared resources. Walk in health centers, libraries and other vital services appear to be under threat from cost cutting activities. If investment in community management is maintained then there cost savings in the long run as the community rises up to support itself through a scaffold of appropriate and reliable resources.

    Recycle centers could have links to community centers as they often receive perfectly good resources that are still in good condition and could be delivered to poorer residents with no means of personal transport.
    Local councils could do so much more by maintaining and co-ordinating better communication and shared resources.

    I could bang on about this all day long because health is directly linked to personal well being and employment ;-)
    google: world life expectancy
    Look at the maps and look at the implications of long term unemployment and health

  • Comment number 48.

    38. At 11:22am on 30 Nov 2010, Mike from Brum wrote:

    Here's a newsflash.

    People are responsible for themselves (and their kids).

    Its only control freaks like Bliar and Nu Liebour who make you think otherwise because it gives them a purpose and a justification to gorge at the trough.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Only control freaks like Bliar and Nu Liebour? Apparently not.

  • Comment number 49.

    "Yourself" everyone should know that if you drink smoke and eat too much you will be very Happy ? only in the short term. but in many cases' you wont' live long. This Very helpful to the government as they wont' have to pay out any pensions or care cost in old age. So keep very well and get some payback? for all the taxes' we have payed to them over our working lives.

  • Comment number 50.

    How about making the healthy food cheaper. A healthy diet has suddenly got more expensive.

  • Comment number 51.

    As individuals we should be. That said. But will those that 'lead' us take a blind bit of notice, like the call for a referrendum, NO!

    The current wave of state controlled education, entertainment and media coverage of immoral activities that encourage behaviour that is detrimental to one's health should be banned. Hey. Maybe that was the plan all along?

    Allow society to come to the brink of self-destruction then usher in their 'plan' of redemption (which in fact is a sinister scheme to control evey aspect of our lives).

    How I long for the Second Coming.

  • Comment number 52.

    what a silly question

    each of us has that duty to maintain own health
    with the aid and researches of the inventor drug products

    but no-one has the right to punish others for doing what they consider right whatever the the reasans
    its a bit like religion

  • Comment number 53.

    Worth repeating here:
    'The art of politics is looking for trouble; finding it everywhere; diagnosing it wrongly and applying unsuitable remedies..'

    Dave, Andrew, and all local councils - just BACK OFF, will you..??

  • Comment number 54.

    1. At 10:43am on 30 Nov 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    Ourselves.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    You took the word right off of my keyboard

  • Comment number 55.




    Easy.

    The responsibility of an individual's health lies with that individual in question and, therefore, it is their personal responsibility.

    If anyone wishes to shorten their life span (thus saving the whole country and absolute fortune in pension payouts) by indulging in an unhealthy life style by drinking, smoking, taking drugs or playing dangerous sports then that is entirely their choice and no one else.

    If the government, council or anyone else wishes to refuse health treatment on this basis then do not take the money from these individuals so that they can invest the vast VAT collected (that, by itself, actually pays for their health treatment many times over without even including Income Tax or National Insurance that is supposed to entitle anyone to any treatment anyway) and other taxes they pay, on their private health insurance so that they can be treated privately instead.

    No one would ever put with a mechanic telling them how to use their car and refusing to repair a car if the driver is going to use it in a way that a mechanic didn't approve of and there is no good reason why patients should be patronised by doctors.






  • Comment number 56.

    So the Council, my new Nanny, is going to tell me how to keep healthy? I thought NuLab was dead as a party, but its spirit seems to be alive and well.

  • Comment number 57.

    Councils must promote meatless diets. Producers could only raise so much beef, pork, chicken, or turkey for a population of billions on this planet. Farmers growing fruit, vegetables, grains, rice, sugar, spice, berries, nuts, melons, and mushrooms should receive the first priority for government support. A new food plan reduces body weight and improves physical activity.

  • Comment number 58.

    It is the Government’s job to keep me healthy.

    As someone with no common sense whatsoever, I feel I’m incapable of making the right choices regarding my health without a constant stream of information and advice from Government.

    Why should I look after myself?

    I’ve been used to 13 years living in a nanny state. There is no need to do things for myself any longer is there? If something goes wrong in my life then it must be someone else’s fault, and the Government should put it right!

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    Slimileaks?

  • Comment number 61.

    42. At 11:32am on 30 Nov 2010, englishmouse wrote:

    'Although i have to say those on low incomes will be hard pushed to afford healthy food and gym memberships. As long as people do what they can, no matter how little that may be, then at least they`re trying.'

    I disagree with the comment about healthy food. It is NOT expensive to eat healthily. Buy fresh food from the local fruit & veg shop and from the local butcher. COOK your food from scratch with wholesome ingredients. Bulk cook and freeze portions for weekday suppers. Supplement with cheap vegetables, potatoes, pasta or rice. It's not expensive. I made 8 portions of spagetti bolognese last night. Cost about £10 for the ingredients - that's £1.25 per portion (plus a few pence for a portion of pasta to go with it). A lot cheaper and tastier than a processed ready meal and much much better for you. Believe me, mum's really should't shop at Iceland...

    ----------------------------------------------------

    Food prices to rise by up to 40% over next decade, UN report warns

    Growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production will send prices soaring, according to the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation

    I think in the coming years Icelands might be hobsons choice for a few englishmouse ;-)

  • Comment number 62.

    My life, my body, my responsibility.

    There's really no hope for anyone who needs Government guidance on how to look after themself.

    It's always the same....those who need to be told, don't listen; those who listen, don't need to be told.

  • Comment number 63.

    Councils are to be put in charge of encouraging healthier lifestyles...

    Oh I can see how this is going to work out – we’ll have council inspectors coming round to ensure that we have done our exercises and are keeping fit. We’ll call them our physical jerks.

  • Comment number 64.

    "33. At 11:18am on 30 Nov 2010, steve wrote:
    The purpose of this is that when, because of funding cuts, health outcomes start falling the Condemned Government can try to shift the blame onto local authorities,despite the fact that it has cut the funding they have to carry out these tasks."

    Or it might just be a shift from central government telling individuals what we must do to people taking responsibility for themselves - somewhat of a new concept for some people that individuals have responsibilities as well as knowing their rights!!

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    I agree it our own responsiblity - but its also our own choice.

    If I want to stuff myself silly with junk food then I will or if I choose a nice salad thats my choice too. Its the same with being active, if I want to sit and watch TV all day I will.

    I will say however that eating heathy food all the time does cost a fortune and its people's money thats usually the priority.

  • Comment number 67.

    Looks like I picked the right day to create an account.

    I've always been fascinated by the idea that having the government and the array of faceless organisations telling you that what you're doing is wrong and that you're going to die soon if you don't change your ways is somehow supposed to make us healthy.

    You know what would make us healthy? Letting us do as we choose (within legal boundaries - though even that's questionable with current drug legislation) without being caused unnecessary stress and duress by people who think they know better than what the past several hundred thousand years of evolution has taught us about what we can and should be eating.

    If I want to 'gorge' on a bar of chocolate or eat two sandwiches instead of one, then I'm going to. If it kills me, I only have myself to blame. Please stop treating us like we are children incapable of understanding the consequences of what we are doing to ourselves. We are not all trying to play the victim card, it's only a minuscule minority of people who feel compelled to blame others for what is clearly their own flaw.

    I've been overweight before, when I was at school. I was bullied very badly (and also because I had 'ginger' hair - it was actually auburn which isn't even close to ginger), and I became very depressed. But rather than sit around feeling sorry for myself, I made the decision to lose weight. Nobody forced me to, but I did it because - at the very least - I'd be able to run faster if the bullies started chasing me. By the end of my time there most of those who had previously attacked me were now friends or acquaintances and the few that weren't had either been expelled or had become outcasts themselves because they hadn't bothered studying.

    Ultimately it is the individual's responsibility AND the individual's RIGHT to make that choice for themselves. Stop assuming that you can fix everything by simply throwing more money at it and attempting to indoctrinate the public even further, because it won't work. Whoever was susceptible to this sort of spin is already a hypochondriac listening to the beckon call of the health authorities, and those who didn't fall for it the first time aren't any more likely to fall for it this time.

    Just let us live our lives, and if our choices become our personal downfalls, so be it.

  • Comment number 68.

    Here's a newsflash.

    People are responsible for themselves (and their kids).

    Its only control freaks like Bliar and Nu Liebour who make you think otherwise because it gives them a purpose and a justification to gorge at the trough.

    -----
    Don't you love Tory posters who insist on using Liar when referring to the Labour party and its leadership. NO VAT increase,no top down reforms of the NHS, Fair taxes on Bankers,the big society,need I go on.
    Everyone knows that lying is the Tories job and they are so experienced at it.
    It also rather re enforces my point about lack of mental health care at Westminster and of course at Millbank towers (I can recommend a good glazier).

  • Comment number 69.

    At 11:32am on 30 Nov 2010, Chris mather wrote:
    "29. At 11:14am on 30 Nov 2010, Planet Mars wrote:
    The NHS.

    Its too easy to just say 'us'. When it comes to healthcare, I believe in the NHS-style healthcare and not the corrupt sick system of the US where doctors see you based on your money as opposed to how you're feeling.

    I thank my stars everyday I'm not an American."
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    More false left wing blind dogma. I have lived in the USA. It is a GREAT country and WE should be very happy that she is one of OUR allies. I wish people like you would concentrate on the socialist paradises like North Korea and Cuba and the Islamic dream states like Iran and Pakistan where most people WANT to live in USA rather that their OWN country. Just because we have an NHS does NOT mean we should not take responsiblity for OUR lives.

  • Comment number 70.


    All Councils, whoever we elect as Councillors as a "front" to look like democracy, are run by Socialist Management meddlers who are entrenched in their well paid, massivly pensioned and cushy jobs. Most of these people could go, but THEY are the ones who will decide that it's the lower down, front line troops who will be culled.

    Lets have Family Trees for ALL Public Service organisations. You will note that none are ever available, as they know it will show up their massive empires of highly paid jobsworths and nobodies. (Read the Guardian PS jobs supplement- what recession?)

    I want the Council to empty my bins, keep the place tidy and just do the jobs we pay them to do and stop treating people like Soviet peasants - to be led and controlled.

    I will eat what I like, when I like despite the Councils probably making it an offence and levying fines for eating the food that THEY say is bad for me.

  • Comment number 71.

    How about ourselves?

    Yet another round for the Health & Safety, PC police .... the councils have too many of these kinds of highly paid and pensioned roles as it is!

    We should be scaling back on all government and public sector wastage, not adding to it.

  • Comment number 72.

    First it was the smoking ban.

    Then drinkers all labelled binge drinking louts, to soften us all up and to pave the way for a drinking ban.

    Now this! Chip tax enforced by your local council? Of course as others have said they wont spend the money doing anything to help, they will simply raise the price of parking in the hope of forcing us to walk or use public transport, meanwhile giving some of their supporters cushy jobs and themselves an opportunity to waste more money on fact finding junkets!

    Sorry, rant over . . . . .

  • Comment number 73.

    We are constantly told that if we eat healthily and excercise we will be healthy, whilst these factors have some effect on our health there are many other factors. I have had relatives and friends who have been very fit, eaten healthily, done every thing they should and yet have died young. This constant critism of lifestyle and the repetion that it is the cause of sickness has had the result that when someone is seriously ill we assume it is their fault and they have brought it on themselves. It's bad enough being ill without critism from the sanctimonious. A work colleague was always one of the first to say as long as her family ate correctly and abstained from smoking and drinking all would be well. Her husband died of lung cancer at forty and all of a sudden her attitude changed
    Healthy eating and excercise have taken the place of religion and people believe that if you sin you will be punished by being ill. There is a basic human need to feel that if you live by the rules you can protect yourself from disaster, it makes people feel safer. People have become obsessed with diet and health. Whilst being semsible can help it is no more true that diet will protect you than it was with religion

  • Comment number 74.

    Post number one should really end this silly discussion. Ourselves.
    Councils would be worse than the government; they have more Lib dems there.

    Just think of it- every morning on radio four with some nasal sounding control freak outlining their council's strategy for health eating, especially aimed at the poor.

  • Comment number 75.

    My personal health has absolutely nothing to do with anyone except me, because only I can tell whether or not I feel healthy.

    So if my local council candidates wishes to add "looking after your health" to their manifesto they can do without my vote. As for the coalition I didn't vote for it and neither did the majority of the country so they can just mind their own darned business.

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    People are responsible for their own lifestyle and if they choose to eat and live unhealthily they should contribute towards their medical bills for the illnesses it causes

  • Comment number 78.

    59. At 11:57am on 30 Nov 2010, Emzdad wrote:17. At 11:04am on 30 Nov 2010, bluepencil wrote:
    Never mind this issue. We need to debate the BBC's decision to broadcast their Panorama programme on FIFA bribery 2 days before the world cup location is announced

    In the event of the UK not getting the world cup the BBC should be prepared for the biggest customer backlash ever known.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Very off topic, but what is needed is that countries who are fed up with this sort of corruption should tell FIFA to go jump in the lake.

    Do I care if we get the WC?.. Do I heck!
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Good posts. I support Panorama. And if Britain lost its bid...whoopee!!!
    Can't stand the predictable hysteria right on our doorstep. Love the game, not the rubbish that it is wrapped up in.

  • Comment number 79.

    Limousine-hoppers advising people on healthy lifestyles. What next?

  • Comment number 80.

    I totally agree with posters 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11 & 12.

    Also I have to say it is very refreshing to see so much commonsense on HYS and not the usual flood of comments by tghe Loony Left brigade.

  • Comment number 81.

    Ha ha ha ......I just have to laugh at this silly question.
    Answer is Ourselves. Without education, a lot of people will die young. With education the not so silly humans just might live until their 80s.

    No 50. A health diet is NOT expensive. Just shop around for your fruit and veg and you just might have a nice surprise.

    It occures to me that people are bone idiol or lack something, where they live on Junk food. Surely prevention is far better then gaining poor health later in life. It is just getting that across to some silly people that this is the case.

  • Comment number 82.

    Surely, the responsibility must be reasonably shared. Individual initiative is obviously crucial: each person can and should take steps to increase their fitness and maximise their health, both for their own sake as well as the sake of their family and community However, people also need to be fairly supported in their 'healthy' lifestyle choices through the right kind of environment and encouragement. I don't think this is a question of education any more: people of all ages and backgrounds are consistently bombarded with public health messages, made aware of the risks of unhealthy diets, smoking, lack of exercise etc., and the vast majority of us - if not all - in the UK do know what the risks are, as well as what we should ideally do to minimise them. This education should by all means continue, but the buck doesn't stop here. I'm inclined to believe that *actual* motivation to act comes as a result of perceived 'personal' risk (e.g. specific health warning from your GP after you've had a health check, or a stark realisation that you aren't fit enough to play with your kids or friends, being out of breath, feeling and looking unattractive) rather than generic health lectures, which more often than not feel de-personalised and irrelevant to the specific man or woman. So the first way to make people care more is to tailor health advice and education more: perhaps family doctors should take the lead here, or school teachers could run small groups/workshops for pupils? (max. 5 or 6 at a time to make the information more relevant to each individual).

    The second issue, I think, is more practical: people do need more affordable sporting facilities (e.g. well-run council gyms with modern and working equipment, cheaper swimming pools or sports hall facilities that they can easily get to). At the moment, gym memberships - certainly private ones - are extortionately priced, and those that aren't are unpleasant ergonomically (e.g. dark interior, male-dominated 'weights' corner, malfunctioning/old equipment). Exercise also needs to be advocated to people as 'fun' rather than necessary, to be less of a chore. Most people would probably go for street-dance sessions more than a cardio training session, if they had the chance or knowledge of one!

    The underlying fact is, though, that neither the central government nor local council can actually force an individual to have the initial care and will to do something about their health. The major push needs to be geared towards increasing personal 'motivation', tailored goal-setting and individual-specific health messaging.

  • Comment number 83.

    If you're a benefits-scrounging, liberal-leftie then the answer is anyone other than yourself.

    If you're a hard-working taxpayer then the answer is yourself.

  • Comment number 84.

    The prime responsibility for staying healthy is with the population themselves - However the prime responsibility of creating the right environment in which to do this is with The Government.

    These is no credibility to this question - If we live in a society where - Unemployment is rising - Costs are rising - debts are rising etc., and we still live beyond our means.

    If a man cannot have a secure working life, through which he can maintain a family - maintain his self respect and have job satisfaction then obviousle he will suffer healthwise as will all of his dependants.

    So whilst we support everybody else, in prefetrence to ourselves then the question is pointless.

    When will our Government see what is becoming ever clearly obvious we have lost our way !

  • Comment number 85.

    Government can advise it's population but it's up to the population to decide what they do with that advise. It'd be more productive if Government encouraged food manufacturers to make certain foods healthier e.g. reduce salt and sugar in staple foods like breakfast cereals, bread, ready meals etc. Food manufacturers always say they make food we want - rubbish! They produce food as cheaply as possible and offer no alternative so we have to buy it - it's a vicious cycle. Individual people can also add more salt or sugar to things if they want to.

    This isn't a class issue either - what's more expensive, a banana or a Mars bar? Living a healthy lifestyle isn't more expensive but does require more effort, which is probably where the problem lies!!





  • Comment number 86.


    Who should be responsible for keeping us healthy?

    I should be responsible for keeping me healthy. No one else. No nanny wagging their finger if I fall short of some state sponsored health measure. No tutting should I partake of the occasional cream cake.

    Should councils be in responsible for encouraging healthy living?

    That depends upon what you mean by “encouraging”. Not long ago I remember a HYS where a local council banned plastic carrier bags in supermarkets to encourage alternatives. If by “encouraging” is meant the draconian enforcement of council standards, then no thanks.

    The government believes the wider remit of councils in areas such as housing, transport and leisure puts them in a stronger position to tackle smoking, drinking and obesity in England.

    As smoking, drinking and being fat are not crimes, why should our elected leaders be trying to “tackle” them in the first place? Give advice – OK. Tackle – no thanks, that’s enforcement.

    Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told the BBC: ""We have got to arrive at a point where politicians stop just telling people how to be healthy but actually help them to do it." The public health White Paper will say the key to encouraging healthier behaviour lies in creating the right environment and then "nudging" people into making different choices.

    Oh dear – I hear the march of the health Gestapo jack boots. Who has told Andrew Lansley that the government have to “help” people get healthy? Was this health enforcement part of his manifesto?

    Employers will also be told they have an important role in helping and supporting staff as well.

    Errr – so I’ll have the government, the council and my employer having a say in my health?

    Should government take a "less intrusive" approach to public health?


    Absolutely


    How much is it up to government to set the healthy living agenda?


    The government should not be setting any healthy living agenda. Give me advice and then let me choose to take it or not. I don’t want “help and support” from my employer – none of their business. I don’t want “help to get there” from the government. I certainly don’t want councils encouraging my healthy (or not) living


    Will the plans help reduce the gap between rich and poorer areas?


    Laughable


    Do people need to do more to help themselves?


    Yes – that it – help THEMSELVES. Not have someone do it for them

    I had hoped that when we got rid of the last lot of failed politicians, the nanny state would go with them. Now I see that nanny is still alive and living my life for me in Downing Street.

    GET OUT OF MY LIFE.

  • Comment number 87.

    Every agency should encourage healthy living. Councils should not be made responsible or we will have to pay the price. As we all know Councils would have to create a new department with a Chief and a Deputy, several assistants and clerical staff, not to mention vehicles etc. All this at a time when we all have to make cut backs to help bail Ireland out!

  • Comment number 88.

    I think that we need a referendum on the sanity of the Condemns.

    Let's look at some points.

    They can afford foreign aid and increase it.

    They can afford to bail the Irish out

    They can afford to subsidise Scotland

    They cannot afford to educate our future adults

    They cannot see the money that is squandered by the NHS Managers to maintain their gravy train at the expense of Doctors and nurses

    They cannot see the money that is squandered by the local Council managers to maintain their gravy train at the expense of front line services.

    And now, they think the same Managers should keep us healthy?

    Or am I missing something?

  • Comment number 89.

    Of course ultimate responsibility lies with us as individuals.

    But Councils can make locations more accessible and attractive for us, reducing membership costs as an example.

    In my spare time I am an Assistant Scout Leader, and I remember an anecdotal conversation where one Leader mentioned to another "You'll never see a fat Scout in our Troop!". The other replied "I know, I've tasted your camp food as well!"

    There needs to be a joined-up approach to health, and this includes education, fitness regimes and even media getting behind changing attitudes, as well as more healthy food being more reasonably priced.

    So, yes, I am reasponsible for ensuring I am as healthy as is practicable, but I need the right tools to help me be better.

  • Comment number 90.

    Keep Councils out of this - they are renouned for fascist tendencies: the bin police prosecuting penioners for the wrong stuff in bins, on the wrong day.

    Declaring Christmas as 'winterland' or banning hanging baskets. Running out of salt or failing to to openly declare their CEO's salaries, pensions and ex-gratia 'pay-offs' to the incompetent ones?

    In other words - big fish in small ponds take the most, attack the minnows, but contribute little in return?

    Do I have no respect for Councils? Do I believe that Andrew Lansley has no idea of the incompetence of Councils or has his fingers in his ears saying lah, lah, lah? Absolutely!

  • Comment number 91.

    We are responsible for ourselves and people in our care.
    Central Government are putting this job onto local government to avoid any blame that may come their way. We do not believe that they care about us personally. They are interested in power, avoiding responsibility and getting re-elected. Why don't we have someone with common sense running things?

  • Comment number 92.

    Personal choice! If you want to live as fat, drunk & stupid who are we to impose this sort of thing on our political captains of whatever industry! Besides most councils are soon to be replaced by virtual holograms...............

  • Comment number 93.

    The clue is in the 'H' in NHS.

    Lord Layard recommended that the NHS change it's culture from 'getting people better' to 'preventing ill health in the first place'. And a lot of money has been spent on schemes to do this.

    It's now been thrown away and given to the councils who can't even grit the roads properly!

  • Comment number 94.

    75. At 12:13pm on 30 Nov 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:
    My personal health has absolutely nothing to do with anyone except me...
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Except when it costs the NHS a fortune - maybe not you personally, but money is the reason the NHS, Government and other bodies 'interfere' in peoples' lives.

    Because many are too thick to look after themselves.

  • Comment number 95.

    1. At 10:43am on 30 Nov 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    Ourselves.
    -*-
    Simples again!
    Now explain that to:-
    People breathing polluted air, drinking contaminated water, kiddies eating junk food, poor folk finding themselves next to industrial disasters, those living close to nuclear dumps, old people living in appalling circumstances and mistreated by uncaring, underfunded institutions etc, etc.

  • Comment number 96.

    When the new lot replaced the old lot, I had hoped to see a reduction in state sponsored bottom wiping, but it appears nothing has changed.

  • Comment number 97.

    Yet again HYS excels with a range of topics suitable for all the kids at home because the schools are shut through snow.

    I remember a time when they would have been required to take up "a hobby of some sort", through which they would learn how to teach themselves to be experts in their chosen fields, rather than simply to swallow that which they are spoon-fed.

    ...and some posters ask where the entrepreneurial spark is in this land.

  • Comment number 98.

    Why are we putting the onus on other people (regardless of who) to sort out our health?!!! Supermarkets do sell fruit, salads and veg, and we do have pavements, parks and gymnasiums, so that people can walk or exercise.
    If you are clinically unhealthy and obese, its not your local council that is going to have to struggle to stave off heart disease and all the other associated problems (albeit the local NHS will have to fund remedial care), its the individual who has allowed themselves to become unhealthy.
    I understand that not everybody can lead a healthy lifestyle, due to ailments and disability, but we are talking about the majority of unhealthy people making a conscious choice to eat pies instead of apples.
    This is a PERSONAL life choice, made by your parents when you are young and you as you get older. You either choose to be healthy and happy - the salad bar. Or you choose to be obese and die early - McDonalds.

  • Comment number 99.

    Even more useless non-jobs for Council Tax payers to fund.

    Just a joke.

    What is the NHS for then?

  • Comment number 100.

    As far as possible,each of us should should be responsible for his own health.

    The problem seems to be that there are many people who simply don't grasp the simple fact that self-abuse has its consequences.

 

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