Let Fat People Die Early To Save The NHS Says Michael Buerk
Veteran BBC newsreader Michael Buerk has said that obese people are 'weak, not ill', and should be left to die early to save the NHS money.
The journalist and former I'm A Celebrity contestant made the controversial comments in a piece he wrote for Radio Times magazine, in which he said that obesity shouldn't be classed as an illness, adding: "You're fat because you eat too much."
He continued: "Let us positively reframe the argument," before discussing the matter in relation to overpopulation and other issues.
"The obese will die a decade earlier than the rest of us; see it as a selfless sacrifice in the fight against demographic imbalance, overpopulation and climate change," he wrote.
"Give them the facts to make informed decisions, by all means, 'nudge' all you like, but in the end - leave couch potatoes alone.
"They're weak, not ill."
To try to balance the argument, he questioned recent stats from Public Health England, which suggested that overweight and obesity-related ill-health costs the NHS £6.1bn a year, asking: "Who can calculate how much an obese person would have cost if they were slim?
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"How much would he or she cost if, instead of keeling over with a heart attack at 52, they live to a ripe, dementia-ridden old age, requiring decades of expensive care?
"In any case, VAT on takeaways, confectionery and fizzy drinks more than covers it.
"The freedom to make bad choices is what personal autonomy, indeed democracy, is all about... who is to say longevity is the ultimate goal in life?"
According to NHS guidelines, obesity is a common problem in the UK, estimated to affect around one in every four adults and about one in every five children aged 10 to 11.
The NHS lists the most common cause of obesity as the consumption of more calories - particularly those in fatty and sugary foods - than you burn off through physical activity. The excess energy is stored by the body as fat.
But although lifestyle choices such as excessive amounts of cheap, high-calorie food and spending a lot of time sitting down - at desks, on sofas or in cars - are a big contributing factor to obesity, it can also be caused by underlying health conditions like thyroid issues, diabetes and psychological problems.
Recent research suggests that food addiction and binge eating could be caused by mental health issues related to eating disorders.
Featured Image Credit: PA