I’m playing catch-up here with stories from the last few days, so I apologise that some of these stories are a few days old, but this one made me fall off my chair when I heard about it.
One of the federal government’s infamous “taskforces” are proposing that obese people be given subsidies on gym memberships .
OVERWEIGHT people could be paid to lose weight under a radical plan to combat the nation’s obesity crisis.
The Rudd Government’s National Preventative Health Taskforce is next week expected to call for tax breaks or subsidies for gym memberships and fitness equipment. Parents could also get tax breaks to help pay for children’s sports club membership.
Junk food ads could be banned in children’s TV time and there could be new voluntary restrictions cutting salt and fat in packaged food. Fast-food restaurants could also be asked to give a calorie count on menus.
So let me get this straight…if I go and put on 500kg in the next two days, I could get a subsidised gym membership? Great! Somebody ring McDonalds and get them to bring a truck to my place.
A Sydney resident has been quoted in the article, stealing my thunder. Why should fat people be paid to join gyms, when people who aren’t fat (like me) have to fork out excessive amounts of our hard earned dollars to join gyms if we want to improve our physical fitness?
Darlinghurst resident Fleur Carter said yesterday it was unfair to offset the cost of overweight people to use the gym when the same scheme wasn’t extended to other people.
The 26-year-old pays $90 a month to use City Gym, where she is exercising to try to put back on weight she lost after a recent illness.
“You have got other people as well who have got health things like asthma where it is medically better for them to be fit,” she said.
“The Government doesn’t pay for them to go to the gym.”
And in signs that Australia is headed for a soft tyranny under Kevin Rudd after all, we’re all being told to change our lifestyles to fit the government’s agenda.
Employers will also be asked to do their bit by encouraging employees to stand while using the phone, instituting meetings as participants walk and organising regular work breaks.
Meanwhile the long-suffering smokers and drinkers are once again set to be forced to pay more to do something which is perfectly legal.
The cost of a pack of cigarettes could also rise by as much as $3 a pack to encourage 130,000 people to quit smoking and the taskforce will call for new restrictions on pubs and other venues selling alcohol.
And the justification for a soft tyranny? Further down in the article, this hoary old chestnut is trotted out as a reason.
The task force has warned, unless we change our lifestyles, the next generation may be the first to live for a shorter period than their parents.
How many times have we heard that one?
Meanwhile, over at Smart Company, recent ABS statistics have been interpreted in this headline :
The more we spend on weight loss, the fatter we get
Yes, it seems that despite our increase in spending on our personal fitness, we continue to expand.
62% of the country’s population was overweight during 2007-08, up from 54% the previous year
Gym membership…I think I’ll pass thanks Kevin.