As per new government plans launched today overweight people will be paid to lose weight – to help bridle the escalating obesity crisis. The NHS-backed scheme will award cash or shopping vouchers to individuals who shed the pounds. Incentives will vary from higher to lower based on the amount of weight a participant loses. However, only those who have a job will qualify – plus employers will be goaded to award incentives to staff who shed pounds.
Firms would become eligible for tax breaks from the Government – and would get some funding to set up slimming or exercise classes. Around two thirds of UK adults are clinically overweight or obese and the NHS spends £5 billion a year on treatment of obesity-linked illnesses. To set an example: Unhealthy food will be cut on NHS premises and staff will have their health and wellbeing measured. Nearly 700,000 of the NHS’s 1.3 million staff are either overweight or obese.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens personally managed to lose nearly 3st through a weight-loss incentive scheme at his previous job, the U.S. insurance firm United Healthcare. He explained: ‘In many countries employers run voluntary schemes – whereby employees get cash back based on participation in Weight Watchers, or other type schemes.’
IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO EAT HEALTHILY, SAY STRESSED NHS STAFF
Most medical staff have unhealthy eating habits – thanks to stress at work and no time to eat nutritious meals, says a survey. Six out of 10 nurses are too stressed to eat healthily, as per a poll by Nursing Standard magazine. Around 3,500 nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants from across the country participated in the research. 60% of respondents believed workplace stress had a negative effect on their diet, whereas 79% thought that a lack of breaks prompt them to eat junk food. 50% felt poor staffing levels had a ripple effect on their diet.
A landmark report – called the Five Year Forward View – published today said, ‘Put bluntly, as the nation’s waistline keeps piling on the pounds, we’re piling on billions of pounds in future taxes just to pay for preventable illnesses.’ Discussing the report, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt asserted that people must take responsibility for their own health.
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he said: ‘The report is not coaxing Government to give people cash. Going forward we all have to take responsibility.’ ‘For UK employers the loss to absenteeism is over £20 billion a year – whereas the costs of presenteeism – drop in productivity at work due to ill-health or poor fitness – may be three times higher.’ She explained that being overweight or obese escalate the number of sickness days taken by 50 per cent – equating to around £14 billion a year in lost revenue.