Stoke-on-Trent to bug the obese by text

stoke-on-trent obese textStoke-on-Trent council is trying out a novel approach to curbing obesity: sending daily ‘motivational’ text messages to overweight people.

About 70,000 adults in the city are classed as obese according to the council, with the local NHS spending £50m a year on weight-related illness.

The scheme is voluntary and covers 500 people at a total cost of £10,000 but, as Cabinet member for health Adrian Knapper said:

“On average it costs the same amount [£10,000] to perform just one intervention operation to help people manage their weight.”

In an emailed statement, the council describes it as an early intervention, aiming to prevent the expense and upset of invasive surgical procedures or other more drastic weight-loss methods. At a cost of £20 per person, the plan is also argued to be extremely cost-effective, though that would obviously depend on how productive it proves to be.

Naturally this scheme isn’t without its objections with the leader of the opposition, Conservative councillor Abi Brown, saying

“I think we could get more for £10,000,” adding puntastically that “The money could just be used more fruitfully.”

Hope Chang, from Chell Heath in the city, said:

“To be honest, I can’t see it will make a difference” going on to point out, not overally supportively, that “If I needed a reminder when I was losing weight, I would look in the mirror,”

Examples of the SMS missives include “eat slightly smaller portions” and “maybe walk to the shops or use the stairs more often.”

Do you think that these reminders will help or do you reckon that this will do little to prevent the obesity problem?

Let me know below.

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