Wednesday 21 December 2011

Naughty Scots Are Not Doing What They're Told

Where does one start with this nonsense, faithfully copy and pasted by the BBC?

Many people understand advice on healthy lifestyle but fail to act on it, according to a report from NHS Health Scotland.

A majority described their alcohol consumption in moderate terms despite drinking over recommended limits.

Nearly nine out of 10 adults knew they should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables daily, but less than a quarter did so.

Researchers concluded that offering advice alone was unlikely to work.
Now, far be it from me to point out the obvious, but 'offering advice' is the very limit to what any government should be doing in a free society. However, the implication seems to be that more bullying is required.

Because the recent incessant noises coming from these obsessive tax spongers have been an unqualified success, we must assume. Well, the report itself kinda puts a dampener on the back-slapping.

Current and ex-smokers were asked about their intentions to quit smoking or any attempts they had made to quit. 14% were current smokers with no intention of cutting down or stopping, a slight increase on 2009 (11%).


41% of adults in 2010 did not want to eat more healthily, an increase from 34% in both 2008 and 2009.
In a world where the public health community was paid by results, this would surely mean a cut in funding to shut their nagging for a bit. It's clear that the public whose health they are concerned about are increasingly fed up with listening to the whining. But of course, this is the alternative civil service universe where failure is encouraged, and bolstered by the shovelling of more cash their way.

Hmm, rather like those bank executives they keep moaning about, eh? Where is UK Uncut when such public money is being wasted that could be spent elsewhere? Strangely silent, it would seem.

Anyway, let's study the highlights of this state sector exercise in tutting at the Jocks.


Perceived consumption levels

• The vast majority of adults described their own alcohol consumption in moderate terms: 41% said they were a ‘very light or occasional drinker’, 21% said they were a ‘light but regular’ drinker, and 19% said they were a ‘moderate drinker’. Only 3% described themselves as ‘quite a heavy drinker’ and less than 1% as a ‘very heavy drinker’.

• The 2010 SHeS results found that 49% of men and 38% of women drank outwith either the weekly or daily recommended alcohol limits for their sex. These figures clearly exceed the proportions who feel they are light drinkers. The 2008/2009 KAM report illustrated the discrepancy between people’s perceived and actual alcohol consumption: of those who drank outwith the limits, 19% described themselves as a ‘very light or occasional drinker’ and 32% said they were a ‘light but regular drinker’.
Damn them all to hell for not adhering to those government limits, eh? You know, the ones 'plucked out of thin air'? Because they are so reasonable, so they are, as the report reminds us.

• Men are advised to not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day and women are advised to not consume more than 2-3

• Advice also exists about the maximum number of units that should be consumed within a single drinking session (men should not exceed 8 units, women 6)
So, we're talking one pint of Carlsberg - not a heavy duty beer at 3.8% - for men being the daily limit, and the same being excessive for women, for the former. And a 'binge' to be just over two pints of Carlsberg for men, and less than that for women.

In such circumstances, "the discrepancy between people’s perceived and actual alcohol consumption" is entirely down to the ridiculous 'limits' decided by a state which has long since departed from recognisable sanity. The public are overwhelmingly correct in designating themselves as light or moderate drinkers when those who produce incoherent claptrap like this have deemed 'hazardous' to be a third of a bottle of wine and a sherry trifle.

The story on weight is strikingly similar.


Perceptions of weight

• In 2010, four in ten people (39%) thought their weight was about right. Nearly half (47%) thought they were overweight and 8% considered themselves to be very overweight.

• The 2010 SHeS found that a quarter of adults (28%) were obese, and 65% were either overweight or obese. People’s perceptions of their weight do not, therefore, wholly correspond with their body mass index.
Are they still trolling this BMI shite? I mean, seriously?

When even the people who produce execrable poppycock like this are well aware that arbitrary BMI measurements are - and always have been - deeply flawed for population level judgements, assumptions made on the back of the system are as useful as a wine cooler in the desert.

The 2008/2009 KAM report found that 37% of overweight people described their weight as about right while only one in four obese people said they were very overweight.
Yes. And, do you know what? I'd say they're almost certainly more correct than the idiots who are paid to trot out this hectoring garbage just before buggering off on their Christmas break.

Likewise ...

Parents’ assessment of their children’s weight

• The majority of parents (83%) thought that their children’s weight was ‘about right’. Parents were more likely to think their child was underweight (11%) than overweight (5%) or very overweight (1%). The 2010 SHeS showed that, in total, 33% of children had an unhealthy weight (either under or overweight/obese), and that 14% of children were obese. Parental perceptions do not, therefore, always match reality.
Beg pardon?

Here we have a report investing ultimate trust in a roundly-accepted flawed measurement, then accusing parents - who know infinitely more about their kids than some detached clock-watcher in a government department - of being out of touch with reality.

The arrogance is so thick you could tile your bathroom with it.

Their report ran to 40 odd pages, but it could have been summarised in just a couple of sentences. Here's what they should have said.

"The public are naughty and aren't doing what we have decided for them, so our methods are obviously ineffectual and failing. In light of this, can we have more money."

Yes, it wouldn't pay their mortgages, but they could at least then claim they were being vaguely honest, couldn't they?


Anonymous said...

Suppose you have a population of smokers. In 2001, 50% say they want to give up and 50% say that they have no intention of giving up. You ask the same question in 2011. Now, 75% say they don't want to give up, and 25% do want to stop. What do you conclude?
You conclude that many of those who wanted to give up in 2001 actually did so, which leaves those who didn't want to stop as a higher fraction of the total than before. Their results actually show a success for the non-smoking lobby, not a failure.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Except that smoker prevalence in Scotland remains unchanged since 2009.

Ineluki said...

I'm not like people such as Leg-Iron (for example); I have no class and I'll drink anything with alcohol in it as long as I'm having a good time (aftershave and perfume excepted).

My record is four litres of foul white cider mixed with Tesco's own brand coke.

I do things such as this regularly, and have done so for over twenty years. How is it that I'm still alive (and have normal liver function, according to a recent check-up?).

Anonymous said...

Call me naive if you wish but it's the hypocrisy of those 'health promotion' idiots I can't stand.

I'm a nurse, so I have regular contact with these types (I usually feel like a whole body disinfection afterwards) and I can point out a little known detail. Most of those working in the health promotion departments (you know those proposing this shit) are major and regular drinkers ('ah, but I know what the safe limit for me is and it's so stressful all this preaching, and we get all this booze free as a reward'). Not only that, the majority are obese, some of them grossly so ('well I eat to compensate for the stress of dealing with all those horrible fat/smoking/drinking people').

So how does it feel knowing that some fat, heavy drinker is telling you that you're overweight and drink too much? (Do as I say, not as I do - SSDD)

Yeh, me too - string them up!

stanley said...

Actually aftershave and cherryade is quite a reasonable tipple if you are short of a few quid.

i drink heavy, smoke heavy, eat heavy and i am still expected to reach 70 years

Anonymous said...

I think this is actually the best fisking I have read for a while.

Nice one Dick :-)

Sam Duncan said...

“Nearly nine out of 10 adults knew they should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables daily.”

Presumably the other one knew, as you've pointed out here, that “Five a Day” is a load of pish.

Able, you don't surprise me in the least.

Anonymous said...

"More needs to be done...." said Flanagan, the Scottish health information officer.

Like hiring more 'information officers' For example?

alanxxx said...

Here's my two ha'porth:

"Nearly nine out of 10 adults knew they should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables daily, but less than a quarter did so." - says the beeb.

How can we be certain that that isn't a translation of something similar to this: 9 out of 10 adults are conscious of ceaselessly being nagged about eating their five a day, but the majority dug their heels in and thought f**k that?

I must record a comment from my octogenarian father, smoker and life long vegetable dodger: "I wish someone from the NHS would come round here and explain to me why I'm not dead".

Little Black Sambo said...

" Men are advised to not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day and women are advised ... etc, etc"
It is phrased as if the advice came down from heaven, not from any identifiable human agency.

Lyn said...

Well said Sam Duncan - my thoughts too.

We all know what you are nagging us about but candidly we can't be bothered to listen to all your bullshit any more, never mind act on it!

Jan M said...

Agree Lyn.

The more they nag the less we listen, in fact I stopped listening years ago, jumped up little gits, telling me what to do.

Just leave me the sod alone.

Ben said...

Recommended limits? Oh, those fools! The WHO (who?) proclaims:
Although drinking guidelines used in the context of a brief intervention have proven effective, in many countries, their application to the general population should be revisited. From the latest evaluations by the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer and joint evaluations by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, it can be concluded that there is no level of alcohol consumption for which cancer risk is null. CMAJ Alcohol consumption and cancer risk revisiting guidelines