Government Mandated Weight Loss | Trimming the Fat in the UK

The Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, (@David_Cameron) recently announced a new proposal that would impact people who are receiving government benefits for what he calls “treatable conditions”. One of the targeted conditions is obesity. In his plan anyone receiving government benefits for obesity would have to agree to follow a “government selected treatment plan” or jeopardize losing part or all of their benefits. He has appointed Professor Dame Carol Black to investigate this issue and offer suggestions on how to get people with these “treatable conditions” back to work. It will be her job to determine whether benefits will be cut or eliminated if claimants refuse the recommended treatment plan. Implications of Government Mandated Weight Loss Several concerning questions come to mind when thinking about what a “recommended treatment plan” would look like? Would it be diet, exercise, medication, and/or surgery? Would it be a universal or individualized plan? How would the effectiveness of the weight loss plan be judged? As a fat woman over the age of 45 I have had my share of medical professionals suggest weight loss methods to me. In each case I considered their suggestion, reviewed the pros and cons, and decided whether the risks of the treatment (often quite substantial) were acceptable to me. In some cases the risks were not even known at the time a treatment option was suggested, as was the case with the diet drug Redux which later caused severe heart issues in many patients. I wonder how I would feel if the government mandated that I take a drug in order to receive sickness benefits…drugs that...