Accepted Normality – obesity, T2.Diabetes and personal health

We all know there is an obesity epidemic (my recent post on Irn-Bru is a case in point); headlines have been featuring in the news, I would guess, on a monthly basis after some review, research, or study is carried out with a supposedly new take on it (kind of like global warming). Type 2 Diabetes has been featuring more and more also and there was recent piece on the radio on the very topic.

The angle of discussion was using an old public announcement about AIDS to stir up debate; “Should Diabetes get an AIDS-type campaign?” was the headline (more here).

Some points of interest were raised, although they have probably been heard before, which is perhaps why this epidemic is becoming an accepted normality:

  • Type 2 Diabetes could bankrupt the NHS
  • Type 2 Diabetes is largely self-inflicted
  • …It’s a lifestyle choice

A diabetes nurse was on the radio show and spoke of how most people just don’t care about changing their habits, they’re not prepared to put in the legwork, they just want a pill to fix the symptoms, which is why the NHS is faced with the burden of shelling out for these expensive pills.

One caller suggested that such people should have to pay for their own pills but this is missing the bigger picture, that this is a lifestyle choice, but a choice (and an addiction also) based on what the system is brainwashing us with.

We live in a system where food, confectionery and soft-drink producers are allowed to lace consumable products with sugars and other sweetening ingredients and promote them to us via suggestive advertising, advertising that targets us from a very young and susceptible age. To suggest that after all of this manipulation we have a choice is to fail to see how people are effectively hypnotised, drugged and lead down a path of addiction.

If the NHS, or that limb of the UK financial system, is to be made bankrupt by this then it is only through that system’s own inability to pass the buck/blame/seek compensation through the form of higher taxes or penalisation etc to/from the industries that want this scheme to persist for their own gains.

Beyond this, healthy foods could be subsidised by those industries that persist on pushing their unhealthy wares. We banned the advertising of cigarettes here in the UK, although it was a long slow path with the industry finding other ways to remain in our faces. The World Health Organisation has this somewhat narrow-minded line to say about alcohol advertising:

“All children and adolescents have the right to grow up in an environment protected from the negative consequences of alcohol consumption and, to the extent possible, from the promotion of alcoholic beverages.”

Perhaps this should be simplified to all negative things. But of course the system as we know it would collapse.

Then I find myself watching an old piece on Youtube (likely from 2007) about the dumbing down of society. John Taylor Gatto, a much renowned American author and former school teacher, known for his criticisms of modern education, has this fitting line to say:

“Schools [and the system] create … a negative attitude that is absolutely essential for a commercial community to flourish in, and that is an attitude of low level dissatisfaction so that nothing you acquire satisfies for very long [material things, but sweet-tasting consumables also] … You discard it [its wrappings too] … you have to have a population that is easily bored, that does not reflect or contemplate, that doesn’t discipline themselves about their appetite…” [link]

He then refers to his own weight, jokingly saying that it is because he is a good American.

There is a lot that needs to change if we truly want to live as a healthy human beings. Not only do we need to make our own personal efforts to better ourselves; eat and live healthily, but we need to assist and encourage others to do the same. Unhealthy, so-called foods, and lifestyles that are damaging when pursued by the masses should not be promoted in any which way or form; we need to have our eyes wide open to see this, and to reject it.


  1. Coincidentally there is an article in today’s online Guardian suggesting that Type 2 Diabetes should be regarded and treated as 5 slightly different conditions. But as regards your wider point, it has often been assumed that people generally want to grow and develop themselves, and that if for example computers or AI made work unnecessary than we all could live active healthy lives learning new things, painting, playing music, writing blogs, and so on (see for example Christopher Evans 1979 ‘The Mighty Micro’ which I blogged about a year ago). I can’t decide whether this is simply a naive view of human nature, or whether people are so frustrated and exploited by the commercial world that they fall into a kind of helplessness, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem be like that. At least some of us still try.

    • I don’t think shaming people helps the situation; it might kick a few into gear (and this might only be initially) but others it will knock them down a rung or two.

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