NHS could incentivise fat people to slim down through cash rewards

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In a bold new measure designed to tackle the UK's rising obesity problem, the NHS could award slimmers cash prizes as a reward for becoming healthier. The proposal involves the NHS providing finance to companies for health promotion of staff members in a bid to get employees striving to shed the pounds.

This will have the knock on effect of seeing individual firms offering cash prizes and gift vouchers as prizes to staff members who meet certain slimming targets. Doctor Clive Peedell has argued that the measure misses one key point and "This policy will do nothing to help the millions of unemployed and the growing numbers of self-employed people who may need help but won’t qualify."

NHS chief Simon Stevens has defended the idea by citing similar schemes such as Weight Watchers which have been successful in other countries. Stevens said "Employers in many countries have voluntary schemes for employees where, for example, you actually get cash back based on ­participation in Weight Watchers or other type schemes."

The proposal has had a very mixed reaction so far from members of parliament as well as the general public. Stevens is hoping that such a scheme would create healthy competition among co workers which will eventually lead to a huge shift in attitudes to food and exercise in the UK. This would lead to huge savings for the NHS when it comes to obesity related treatment costs.

Currently, about 1 in 10 children starting school are obese and by the time kids start secondary school the figures are closer to 1 in 5 children. Over 60% of UK adults are currently clinically obese and this carries with it a huge cost to the NHS. Spending comes in at approximately £5 billion per year on treatment on diseases related to being overweight.

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