Dance Classes for the Overweight – Why Not a Good Walk?

The overweight are to be offered cooking classes and dance workouts on the NHS to combat Britain’s obesity crisis.

GPs will offer advice on weight-loss, healthy eating and exercise. The plan will also see overweight health workers sent to Slimming World.

OverweightAround 700,000 of the health service’s 1.3million workers are carrying too much weight. NHS boss Simon Stevens said: “It’s time for the NHS to start practising what we preach”

Some 10,000 staff will be offered help under a £134,000 pilot at a London Hospital trust. It will include 12-week sessions at lunch or after work with Slimming World or MoreLife. The tubbiest medics can have one-to-one consultations with a psychologist and dietician.

The £3million drive is aimed at slashing the number of Brits with Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and costs the NHS £10billion a year.

Mr Stevens said: “”The human toll is more than 100 amputations a week and around 20,000 early deaths every year.”

Barbara Young, of Diabetes UK, said: “We feel this prevention programme is hugely significant.”

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“It’s great news for the health care workers, however, I’m not too sure if a healthier diet is affordable for the poorer paid or those struggling on benefits. Also, are psychologists and dieticians suddenly going to be available for overweight people in the community – can’t see it some how. I think the programme is a good idea a good walk short.”

Diesel Cars – ‘Massive Public Health Problem’

By Jonathan Owen & Jamie Merrill – The Independent on Sunday

The drive by the previous government to encourage millions of people to opt for diesel cars in a bid to lower carbon emissions has created a ‘massive problem for public health’ the shadow environment minister, has admitted.

Ten million Britons drive diesel cars, in a trend which was encouraged by tax breaks given by George Brown when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Last year more than half of all new cars were diesel. But while they emit less carbon dioxide (CO2) than their petrol counterparts, diesel cars emit more deadly pollutants – which have contributed to dangerous levels of air pollution causing the deaths of 29,000 people a year.

Air pollution from carCompared to petrol cars, diesels produce 22 times the amount of  particulate matter – a cause of cancer. And they emit up to four times more nitrogen oxides – including nitrogen dioxides, which damages lungs and blood vessels and can cause heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Barry Gardiner, shadow environment minister, said: “there’s no question that the decision we took was the wrong decision, but, and it’s a big but, at the time we didn’t have evidence that subsequently we did have, and we had cleaner diesel engines, which we thought meant that any potential problem was a lower grade problem than the problem we were trying to solve of CO2.”

Speaking in a Dispatches documentary that will be broadcast on Channel 4 tomorrow, he claims the drive for diesel was the “right move away from those vehicles who were pushing out CO2 emissions.”

Air quality is now so poor that it is stunting the lungs of young children in parts of London, according to preliminary findings of researchers at Queen Mary University Hospital and King’s College, London.

The documentary also reveals how car drivers are exposed to higher levels of pollutants than cyclists and pedestrians. Professor Frank Kelly, Chair of of the Committee for the Medical Effects of Air Pollution, said that diesel fumes could “penetrate” car cabins with “ease”. Alan Andrews, a lawyer with environmental campaign group Client Earth, said: “People still think diesel is the green fuel… The truth is diesel is a very heavily pollutant fuel.”

In London, councils are pushing back against diesel engines, with plans in Islington and Hackney for surcharges of up to £96 on parking permits for diesel vehicles.

The car industry has reacted with dismay to the “blanket” clampdown, with one source close to Ford, which just opened a £190m diesel engine plant at Dagenham, saying it was an unfair “demonisation of diesel”.

A government spokesperson said it had invested £2bn since 2010 on “ultra-low-emission vehicles, sustainable travel and green transport schemes”.

“Not many of us can get away from passively ‘smoking car fumes’ unfortunately. We still await a clean replacement for the internal combustion engine after well over a hundred years!!”