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Date: 05 February 2014

Today's Topic: Text Me Thin

Triggers: BBC News Report

My Grump: The latest hare-brained scheme for losing weight

Obese people in Stoke-on-Trent can be sent motivational text messages to encourage them to lose weight. About 70,000 adults in the city are classed as obese according to the council, with the local NHS spending 50m a year on weight-related illness.

"Motivational" texts will read: "Use the stairs more", "Eat fruit and veg" and "Keep a check on snacks and drinks".
Texting Obesity Patients with Encouragement
The project will run for around 10-weeks and cost 10,000. The scheme will be available to 500 people who have to sign up with the council, and so will be targeting less than 1% of the obese population in that area.

Cabinet member for health Adrian Knapper said: "On average it costs the same amount [10,000] to perform just one intervention operation to help people manage their weight." He's probably talking about bariatric surgery, but it may also be to cover diabetes and other obesity medication.

Conservative councillor Abi Brown, said "I think we could get more for 10,000," and "The money could just be used more fruitfully."

Speaking of which, somebody mentioned Free Fruit Fridays or some such thing on the news. Presumably to go with Chocolate Monday, Doughnut Tuesday, Pancake Wednesday, Iced Bun Thursday, Chippy Saturday and IceCream Sunday.

Is any of this going to make a difference? I doubt it. I can already hear the echo of the nanny state all the way down here in flooded Somerset.

However, I have a different idea.

I don't think the messages go anywhere near far enough. Obese Person with Measuring Tape
  • Put down that bun you fat bastard
  • All that chocolate will make you sick!
  • The average bottle of wine has 600 calories
  • The sun is shining; GET OUTSIDE YOU COUCH POTATO
  • It'll take an hour to walk off that Mars bar you know
  • Get out of that lift and use the stairs
  • Lazy git, MOVE for christ's sake!
  • Watching workouts on TV don't count!
Now that's the kind of motivation I'm talking about. Most of the people I know who are dieting are obsessed with 'cheats', things they can eat that are completely off diet. They end up with more cheats than proper food. What's the point of that? And, the saddest of the lot are those who keep things hidden, like choccy treats, and tuck into them thinking that if nobody else knows about them, or hasn't seen them, they don't count. Madness or what?

We've all heard of CrimeStoppers. Well we could have a FatStoppers number: 0800 GET THIN.

This is so your friends can shop you when you're in McDonalds. You can get a text that says: "Get the hell out of that queue. What are you thinking??"

What's the likelihood of this little scheme working?
Fat chance I say.

Please share your thoughts below, thank you.

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