July 23, 2014

London incentive launched to tackle obesity

With obesity rates rising rapidly in the UK, programs are being introduced to increase physical activity across the nation.

Experts in Hackney, London, feel that the best approach to encouraging children to be more active is to create recreational reasons to play outside.

Their new program is based on carefully planned urban walks, with riddles and landmark spotting integrated along the way. Many routes start in areas of Hackney with the highest rates of childhood obesity, in a bid to capture this demographic.

The program creator, London Borough of Hackney's health communications manager Kathryn Scott, said: "The person in charge of parks and leisure is the same person whose job it is to get residents healthier."

She continued: "Parks are one of every local authority’s most important assets—but the challenge is to get residents using them." 

This policy focus may be critical in combatting global obesity rates, and thus is likely to have positive knock-on effects on labor markets.

Aside from the burden placed on taxpayers associated with medical costs, IZA World of Labor’s Susan L. Averett has found evidence which suggests that obesity leads to discriminatory hiring. According to her research, obese people are less likely to be employed and, when employed, are likely to earn lower wages.

Read more here.

Related article:
Obesity and labor market outcomes, by Susan L. Averett