Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Obesity - where's the transport link?

Today obesity is again in the news headlines, the second time this week. The UK government is getting in a right old tizzy about the subject, and rightly so: this is an important issue (although the claim that Britons being fat is as important as global warming is, erm, just a tad anglocentric, don't you think, chaps?).

But why on earth, in all that has been said about this subject, is nobody seeing a role for transport in solving this problem? The facts are that (1) our bodies are not intended to be sedentary and (2) most people drive for most journeys. The majority of journeys under 2 miles are carried out by car, expending practically no energy whatsoever. Getting people to walk and cycle these journeys would make a huge blow against obesity, but it is not being mentioned. Shifting short-distance transport to active modes would change so much and do it simply, but instead we'll probably end up with hamburger-taxes or something equally silly. Sigh.


livia said...

Hi Ian, I wondered if you know of, or have access to, statistics relating to obesity in Salisbury itself, not just uk wide. do you even think this info is available to the public?
Cheers, thanks v much

Ian Walker said...


I don't know of any published statistics on obesity just for Salisbury. In fact, I'd be surprised if they were even available by county as a standard publication. Probably your best bet is to ask your MP to request this information for you from the Department for Health - MPs can ask written questions about anything to government departments on behalf of their constituents. Alternatively you could ask for the information from the Department for Health yourself under the Freedom of Information laws, and they would have to let you have the information if they have it.