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Human Fat = Fillet Steak!

Fillet steak and excess human fat cost about the same – here’s how: based on 2012 data the cost to the NHS per kilogram of excess weight on men and women was roughly the same as the price of fillet steak at around £25/kg. It’s a big number and it seems to be consistent across other health economies around the world.  This means in the UK the average man or woman could be costing the NHS between £125-£150 every year on an ongoing basis purely down to the excess fat they are carrying around!

Paying people or rewarding people to lose weight is one way to encourage people to lose weight (as per the NHS 5 year plan), but looking at the numbers, above, the rewards for an individual are necessarily going to be pretty small versus the hassle of trying to lose weight.

So how can we motivate the masses to lose excess weight and save healthcare economies money:

1. Focus on the few. Give massive rewards for those who are most overweight and likely to drive the biggest healthcare costs. (Perversely this may make it less worrying to some to be obese + acceptable for others to become a risk knowing that you will be rewarded to lose weight)

2. Change the mechanic from reward to loss. Because people are much more driven by loss and the behaviours of those around them than by reward.

3. Have a national annual weigh-in taking place everywhere (could be at the supermarket or the GP or wherever is convenient). Then let’s compare and individual’s weight/BMI to those of the community in which they live (just like an Australian utilities company framing an individual households consumption vs. the community to help drive down usage). Then let’s produce league tables to drive communities to compete against each other – why? Because competition, not choice, drives change. If your community is not in the top 50% then you lose out on a council tax rebate for being in a healthy community.

This approach (3) has the added benefit of identifying and monitoring communities where greater healthcare intervention and spend is warranted. It would drive investment beyond traditional heartlands into the rural community / second tier cities and prop up house prices in healthy