Monday, January 28, 2008

Fat camp, here I come

From the Daily Telegraph we have the following UK government proposal. They want companies to be able to provide tax-free incentives to their employees to encourage them to lose weight.

I spot a business opportunity here. Suppose I run my own company (which I do) does this mean I can pay myself to get thin and claim the tax back? Tax free skiing holidays on health grounds beckon as well.

Would I have to pay the tax back when I almost inevitably put all the weight back on (as 19 out of 20 dieters do)? Or can I just make a pledge to improve things and keep paying myself tax free. Sounds like a winner to me.

Mind you it's a mystery to me why doctors invariably prescribe diet and exercise to lose weight when, long term, the vast majority of their patients will fail to lose weight that way. It's as though I went in with a headache and they gave me a pill with the advice that there's only a 1 in 20 chance that it would fix me up. I wouldn't be very satisfied with that, and I don't suppose many others would either. Yet people simply look shamefaced as their disgustingly obese BMI is read out and promise to try harder.

I think this is because being fat is regarded as a moral weakness (especially by some young people) , rather than simply being the result of us being anatomically cavemen with a metabolism tuned to make the most of scarce food resources. The only problem is that we're living in a culture in which tasty nutritious food is all around us. It's not about willpower, it's about biochemistry.

H/T to Mr Eugenides for this one.

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