Dopey scientist: You can't be blamed for your own weight

Personal responsibility is officially dead. That’s not opinion, it’s science!

Towns and cities need to be radically redesigned to help to tackle the obesity epidemic, scientists were told —yesterday. Professor Philip James, chairman of the International Obesity Task Force, a London-based think-tank, called for a revolution in urban planning to encourage people to use cars less and public transport more.

He told a conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston that it was naive to expect people to lose weight by making better choices about diet and exercise when their surroundings encouraged inactivity.


This thinking goes hand in hand with Barack Obama’s economic plan, which takes retirement decisions out of people’s hands because it’s too much work for them to figure things out for themselves. Between the technocrats and the politicians who listen to them, pretty soon people won’t be responsible for a single thing in their own lives.

He also blamed the rise of desk-bound office work and sedentary leisure activities such as watching television, surfing the internet and playing computer games. Lifts and escalators, and even labour-saving devices such as electric toothbrushes and can-openers added to the problem.

Who is responsible for my decision to surf the net, er, besides you people who want a new post every 10 minutes? Why, urban designers, of course. It’s science!

You want to know where this is going? Nanny totalitarianism, naturally.

“Blaming individuals for their personal vulnerability to weight gain is no longer acceptable in a world where the majority is already overweight and obesity is rising everywhere,” said Professor James, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “It is naive of ill-informed politicians and food industry executives to place the onus on individuals making ‘healthier choices’ whilst the environment in which we live is the overwhelming factor amplifying the epidemic.

“It is even more naive to tell people that they just need to make a little change in their eating habits or their daily activity and suddenly the obesity problem will be remarkably easily solved.” Rather than pouring billions into creating more car-filled town centres and motorway networks, it was now necessary to curtail car use.


So let’s redesign the world, and set limits on net use and TV watching. It’s all for your own good.

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