Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sadiq Khan and Child Obesity - Wilful stupidity

There are days when you just hold your head in your hands and despair at the cynical, wilful stupidity of the political class. The subject this time is child obesity in London. Those of us who live here have a pretty good idea of who the fat kids are; black African and Somali  kids are, by my observations, fattest of all, and then Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi kids. Now 25% of London's population are ethnic minorities, compared to 5% to 10% elsewhere in England, so if my unscientific observations about the ethnic origin variations in obesity are right, London child obesity rates overall will be higher than England child obesity rates. With me? 

What prompted this is the story in tonight's Standard with Khan wanting to block all fast food shops within 400m of schools in London to curb London's child obesity 'epidemic'. Of course there's no evidence linking fast food shop location to obesity levels, but that doesn't stop Khan from drawing the spurious and bigoted conclusion. 
"Childhood obesity rates are higher in London than the rest of the country with one in five children classed as very overweight by the time they leave primary school, figures showed today. In eight London boroughs, including Southwark and Westminster, more than a quarter of 11-year-olds are considered obese, while one in ten five-year-olds across the capital are seriously overweight. Medical evidence shows that obese children are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes in later life. Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan, who compiled the figures, set out plans to prevent new fast food outlets opening within 400 metres of schools."
See? No evidence of any connection whatsoever. Just 'Kids are fat - close the chip shops'. Stupid, stupid, stupid. 

Well, it took a few minutes of searching to find the figures on ethnic variations in obesity - in a Parliamentary research paper. 
So London's child obesity rates are almost certainly no worse than anywhere else in England once you equalise for ethnicity. 

Resources to tackle child obesity will be far better used if they are targeted where they're most needed. And you also don't need 20/20 vision to notice that black African women are the fattest of all in London - immensely, hugely fat - with all the health risks and shortened life expectancy that goes with it. But until Khan and his kind discard their bigotry and prejudice and use facts and evidence to drive policy, these people will continue to die because Khan is too embarrassed to identify the real problem.


Plantman said...

It's emotional compensatory over-eating for all the waaaycism, init.

opsimath said...

@Plantman: I would certainly think so. It's got to be whitey's fault somehow.

Anonymous said...

I really, really couldn't give a tinkers cuss about fat 'minorities' in London. What really disturbs me is the purpose behind the race replacment program that been running for over six decades in London, and elsewhere, in England. My father still wears a blazer that he bought in London in 1948. Since that purchase his entire ethnic group has been made a minority in their own capital city - a first in the developed world. Ten years ago the English became a minority in Birmingham, their second largest city - a place where most of the Spitfires were built in WW2.

Our demise in our third largest city is just a few years away. Get real.


Cuffleyburgers said...

The point has been made elsewhere that the reason for obesity in general is not so much increased calorie consumption but decreased levels of activity. Calorie consumption has fallen apparently.

It would be fascinating to chart the increase of childhood obesity over the last 30-40 years and plot it against weekly hours of PE in schools and also against school playground sell-offs.

Another important factor is the cotton wool generation effect where children are barelu allowed 100yds from the house without parental supervision etc etc. I am sure many unofficial children activities which used to happen now don't as CRB checks etc are required, insurance... the list is endless.

I suspect 90% of the problem is caused by the actions of the government, the same government that proposes some fascistic and unnecessary measure to counter it.

Martin said...

He should have a chat with Dianne Abbott to find out why she is so huge these days !

Anonymous said...

Its another example of where health concern advice gets trumped by identity politics.

A far more serious example is where first cousin marriage in Pakistani communities causes ten times the amount of foetal defects. If this was the local whites, the NHS would never shut up about it, but because its a Muslim cultural issue, shhhhhhhhhhhh.

Budgie said...

For decades the government "advice" has been to cut out animal fats and substitute "healthy" vegetable oils. This advice (like much government propaganda) is just plain wrong as Mrs Budgie has been telling me for 20 years. The medical profession are coming round to this view now, but the government hasn't caught up.

There is of course nothing intrinsically wrong with vegetable oils (apart from the evil hydrogenation process), but the advice has reduced the intake of essential fatty acids in the people least able to understand the issues or bypass the resultant food processing. These tend to be the poor and/or ignorant who crave the lost nutrients and overeat cheap foods in their search for what their body needs and can't get. Hence the glut (excuse) of obesity. Packet of "essentials" custard creams, anyone?

Cuffleyburgers said...

Budgie - absolutely. Govt health advice is uniformly disastrous. If only they limit themselves to the essential functions of govt and stop trying micromanage everybody's lives we'd all be much better off.

Mr Ecks said...

Esp since there are no essential functions of govt. Everything they touch turns to shit. Except their perks.

Anonymous said...

And I see that food is now to be packed with Vitamin D because some 'minority' groups don't get enough through sunlight falling on their skin. These groups include those whose skin requires stronger sunlight, and those who dress in black tents.