This Is My New Thing

Let’s Move! Begets Let’s Do This! – E-Z Weight Loss

Who knew that Boris Johnson was a secret fan of Michelle Obama? If imitation is sincere flattery, we see some flattery of her in the new Better Health campaign coming from the NHS. Let’s Move! has become Let’s Do This! So the UK is on a crash course of self-directed weight loss, with a little encouragement from the government.

The ad agency behind this campaign says they’re changing the health of a nation:

What better time to launch the new NHS Better Health brand and its catch-cry, Let’s Do This. A call to all to get up and have a go. To try healthy new habits through eating well and moving more. All made as easy as possible, because these things are hard to start – and to stick to.

Positive Messaging and Imagery

Just like the Let’s Move! campaign, Let’s Do This has an infusion of much positive energy. Getting to work is my workout. I said one day – This is day one. Cutting down my risk. All this encouragement is great. Truly.

Even better is the imagery. We don’t have skinny Minnies in their yoga pants subliminally telling larger people they’re not good enough. We have real, big people finding inspiration in getting active and finding healthy habits. Genuinely good stuff.

Reality Might Get in the Way

You might sense that there’s a but coming. You’re right. Urging a whole nation to eat healthier, move more, and lose weight is a challenging proposition. Individual choices do indeed play a role in dealing with obesity. Through good choices and unrelenting focus, people can typically lose five to ten percent of their body weight. If they never blink, they can maintain much of that improvement. Even with modest weight loss, health improves.

However, the UK has not joined in the global pandemic of obesity because its citizens have lost the capacity to make good decisions for their health. Obesity prevalence has grown because the complex systems of infrastructure, food, social patterns, and more have changed to trigger obesity in more people who are genetically susceptible.

Mistaken Beliefs About Self Help for ObesityIt Will Take More

It will take more than sparkly adverts to change the trajectory of obesity in the UK – or anywhere else for that matter. The public mistakenly believes that self-help will cure obesity. That diet and exercise are more effective than bariatric surgery or medical obesity care. But it’s wishful thinking.

First Lady Michelle Obama launched her Let’s Move! campaign in 2010, when U.S. obesity prevalence was 36 percent. By 2018, the needle had moved – but in the wrong direction. Prevalence grew to 42 percent.

Leadership is all about going beyond false promises that you think your followers will accept. It’s about taking people to a better place by actually solving problems. By confronting reality. And the reality of obesity is that it’s a complex problem. To solve it will take curiosity, objectivity, and better care for the people who already have it.

Inspirational advertising bromides are not enough.

Click here and here for further views on what’s needed.

NHS Better Health Advertising, from M&C Saatchi Group

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August x, 2020

One Response to “Let’s Move! Begets Let’s Do This! – E-Z Weight Loss”

  1. August 16, 2020 at 10:16 am, Mary-Jo said:

    I attended the first announcement of the Foresight Report on Obesity more than 10 years ago and still remember how excited and impressed I was leaving the presentation. I continued to go to every single subsequent presentation on steps that would be taken to follow up on it, even losing a cherished heirloom broche in the Houses of Parliament in London as I rushed to speak with Michael Marmot about increasing appropriate treatments for children in poorer neighborhoods. Other than the NHS covering for lifestyle treatments, good for 6 to 12 follow-up sessions , particularly from WW and some other approved programs and some public health Initiatives to increase fruit and vegetable intake, and now, this, I’m really not sure what actually came about from the Foresight Project?