November 19, 2010

Warwick Week – Measuring Happiness, Sibling Rivalry, Undeserving Poor and Masons' Marks

Why it's hard to measure happiness

This week the government announced plans to measure the nation’s happiness, or general well-being (GWB) according to David Cameron. Prof Andrew Oswald of Warwick Business School is an expert in emotional prosperity and happiness. He said:

Economic performance is... a means to an end. That end is not the consumption of beefburgers, nor the accumulation of television sets, nor the vanquishing of some high level of interest rates, but rather the enrichment of mankind's feeling of well-being. Economic things matter only in so far as they make people happier.

Read the full article on BBC Magazine >>

An only child is a happy child

New research from Prof Dieter Wolke, Warwick Medical School, shows that the more siblings children have, the unhappier they become, due to bullying and competition. The research was featured in The Observer this week:

One of the widest-ranging research projects on family life conducted in Britain has revealed that the fewer siblings children have, the happier they are – and that only children are the most contented.

The findings, shared exclusively with the Observer, suggest that "sibling bullying" could be part of the problem, with 31% of children saying they are hit, kicked or pushed by a brother or sister "quite a lot" or "a lot". Others complain of belongings being stolen by siblings and being called hurtful names.

The figures are the first to emerge from Understanding Society, a study tracking the lives of 100,000 people in 40,000 British households. They will be revealed on Friday in Britain in 2011, the State of the Nation, a magazine published by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Read the full article on The Observer website >>

The deserving and the undeserving poor

Prof Mark Harrison was discussing the morals of the welfare state on BBC Radio 4’s Analysis programme on Monday this week (15th November).

The 30 minute programme, led by presenter Chris Bowlby considered whether a state welfare system can ever distinguish between those who deserve help and those who do not. Other contributors to the programme included Will Hutton, The Work Foundation; Jose Harris, Emeritus Professor of Modern History, Oxford University; Hazel Forsyth, Museum of London; and Gordon Lewis, Community Project Manager, Salvation Army.

Find out more about the programme and listen again >>

Masons' marks get a revival

A medieval system of marking stone in building work could be a cheap and effective way of ending the modern day frustration of constructing ‘flat-pack’ furniture, according to Dr Jenny Alexander, History of Art Department.

Her research was featured in The Guardian this week as a cheap and efficient solution to complex self-assembly furniture. She said:

If companies that make flat-pack furniture used a system similar to masons' assembly marks to show which pieces went together, it could remove the need for the complex and often impenetrable instruction booklets they currently issue.

Read the full article on the Guardian website >>


November 12, 2010

Warwick Week – Inflation and Earnings, Heroism, and Snooker Stars

Inflation and earnings: what is the cost of a pint of beer?

“It were all so much cheaper when I were a lad...” or was it? Professor Ian Stewart looks at how the money in your pocket has really changed over the years. Every day we are bombarded with historical comparisons, intended to demonstrate how badly off we all are, but as Prof Stewart argues, such calculations rarely allow for inflation.

Read Prof Stewart’s article in The Telegraph >>

No Need for Heroism?

Dr Angie Hobbs presented a public lecture this week on BBC Radio 3, exploring today's idea of heroism in war, social justice, the arts and sport. Courage, ambition, vainglory, sacrifice ... what does it mean to be a hero now? Dr Hobbs asks: does this ancient idea still have a role in our age of instant celebrity and can it rise above its financial and political exploitation?

Listen again to Dr Angie Hobbs speaking on heroism >>

Prof Tom Marsh talking Snooker Stars on BBC Radio 5

This week, Professor Tom Marsh spoke on BBC Radio 5, explaining the discovery of a star system that looks like a game of snooker. Warwick's astronomers looked at a binary star system which is 1670 light years away from Earth, consisting of two stars, a red dwarf and a white dwarf. As Prof Marsh commented, “it’s hard to escape the image of this system as being like a giant snooker frame with a red ball, two coloured balls, and dwarf white cue ball.”

Listen again to Prof Tom Marsh at 2:55.43 >>

VC's Blog: Idealism in Hard Times

Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift's latest blog entry on the Chronicle of Higher Education's Worldwise international blog section is available to view online. The Vice-Chancellor comments on higher education conferences in both Britain and the US:

In the face of all the difficulties, participants understood that universities were a vital building block of a global civil society and a global citizenry. They understood the need for more cooperation, so as to form a community of communities which could sometimes act outside the traditional bounds of sovereignty… So in very challenging times, what I got out of these two meeting was not just hope but real propositions for how to change how we think about what universities can be which can inspire us to make renewed efforts to light the way ahead.

Read the Vice-Chancellor’s blog in full >>


November 04, 2010

Warwick Week – ESRC Grant Winners, Graphene Oxide, and Marine Preservation

Warwick academics win grant funding

Two Warwick academics have been awarded funding from the Economic and Social Research Council’s Research Seminar Competition 2009-2010. The scheme aims to bring together researchers from across disciplines to identify new research agendas or capacity-building priorities. Dr Andres Carvajal, Department of Economics, received funding for his games and economic behaviour study group, while Professor Jenny Bimrose, Institute for Employment Research, has been awarded a grant for her work on reframing service delivery, professional practices and professional identities in UK careers work.

Read more about the ESRC grants >>

Revolutionizing work of electron microscopes

The single layer material Graphene was the subject of a Nobel prize this year but research led by a team of researchers at the University of Warwick has found molecular hooks on the surface of its close chemical cousin, Graphene Oxide, that will potentially provide massive benefits to researchers using transmission electron microscopes. They could even be used in building molecular scale mechanisms.

Read the press release on graphene oxide >>

The world’s largest marine reserve

The British territorial waters of the Chagos Archipelago, in the Indian Ocean, have been designated as a ‘no-take’ zone, where commercial fishing is banned. Professor Charles Sheppard, Department of Biological Sciences, has been working on what is now the world’s largest marine reserve:

Governments need to stand up to the fishing industry lobby before it is too late. We cannot afford to have any more delay by governments in honouring their commitments to protect areas of ocean. Failure to do this would result in the degradation of the habitat, followed swiftly by degradation of the people who would have been supported by the habitat.

Read an article about marine reserve in the Independent on Sunday >>

Have you heard Warwick in the news this week? Please do share anything you have found interesting...



October 29, 2010

Warwick Week – Women Philosophers, Sperm Banking and GDP

Where are the women philosophers?

On Wednesday, Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour looked at the study of Philosophy at University. A group of students from the University gave their views on the study of philosophy and Dr Angie Hobbs discussed the relationship that women have with philosophy.

Last week the Wiltshire town of Malmesbury branded itself the UK’s first philosophy town. But when it comes to the study of philosophy at university, women are largely under-represented in teaching posts. Jenni explores the reasons and examines why female philosophy students seem to prefer applied philosophy such as the study of ethics, whereas male students are drawn to the theoretical side such as the study of logic. She is joined by Dr Angie Hobbs, Senior Fellow in the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, also appointed as one of Malmesbury’s “town philosophers” and Professor Helen Beebee, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham and Director of the British Philosophical Association.

Listen again on the Woman’s Hour website >>

Male cancer patients are missing out on sperm banking

A new study funded by Cancer Research UK and conducted by researchers at Warwick Medical School has shown that only half of oncologists and haematologists across the UK agreed that information on sperm banking is readily available to patients, despite national guidelines which state sperm banking should be offered. In a survey of nearly 500 clinicians, the researchers also found that 21 per cent were unaware of any local policies on sperm banking.

Read the press release on the Cancer Research UK website >>

So we've built a chocolate race-car, but can we build a "gravy train"?

CBC Radio in Canada have been discussing Toronto's mayoral contest and the crticism that candidates and politicans have received for riding the "gravy train". They asked Dr Steven Maggs, Principal Teaching Fellow at WIMRC and Project Director (Warwick Formula Student) whether it would be possible to build a real life "gravy train".

Read more and listen to the interview on the CBC Radio website >>

Examining the Economy

On Tuesday, the Office of National Statistics published its estimate of GDP for the third quarter of 2010. Prof Nick Crafts, Director, CAGE (Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy) was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire’s breakfast show talking about what these latest figures say about the growth of the economy under the coalition government.

Listen again (2:15.16) >>

Have you heard Warwick in the news this week? Please do share anything you have found interesting...


October 22, 2010

Warwick Week – Comprehensive Spending Review

This week, the whole country has been discussing the Comprehensive Spending Review. There are still significant unanswerable questions regarding how it will change the nature of the UK economy but Warwick academics have been having their say…

Vice-Chancellor Prof Nigel Thrift on Higher Education

Now that the Government has announced the outcome of its Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) we are beginning to get some indication of the level of the cut to public funding of higher education in England.

While we have yet to see the detail the CSR does appear to include a significant cut in University funding as was suggested in a wide range of news media over the last few weeks.

Read the full comment on the University website >>

Angie Hobbs on Fairness

The Comprehensive Spending Review announcements have prompted many discussions on the concept of “fairness”.  Are the spending cuts fair? Is fairness too expensive? In a feature on Radio 4’s Today programme, Dr Angie Hobbs explains the philosophy of fairness.

Listen again on the BBC Radio 4 Today website >>
You can also read an interview with Angie Hobbs on The Knowledge Centre >>

Lord Robert Skidelsky on Growth Prospects

Lord Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor in Politics and International Studies said Mr Osborne's cuts would "directly worsen immediate growth prospects". Writing in the New Statesman, Lord Skidelsky said:

What are the prospects for Osborne's cuts? They will directly worsen immediate growth prospects, as the Office for Budget Responsibility concedes, and they will not in themselves bring about offsetting reductions in long-term interest rates.

For this, we need quantitative easing (printing money) and it is no secret that this is what the Chancellor relies on to vindicate his policy.

Yet one would be wrong to think this is a cure-all ... the injection of £200 billion of new money in 2009 failed to revive lending and borrowing on the scale needed for robust recovery, and it is not clear why the Chancellor and the governor of the Bank of England expect another monetary injection to do any better now.

Lord Skidelsky’s comments were featured as the lead essay in this week’s issue of New Statesman >>

Wyn Grant on Social Security

In an article on bloomberg.com, Prof Wyn Grant commented on the social-security spending cuts:

Local agents who administer benefits are subject to local political pressures… Even if the local administrators do not know the people whose cases they administer, there may well be a local culture that is sympathetic to, for example, people who have been unemployed for long periods of time.’’

Read the full article on Bloomberg.com >>l

Prof Mark Harrison on the Welfare State

Prof Mark Harrison, Department of Economics was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire on Thursday morning looking at the future of the Welfare State – have George Osborne’s cuts made it a thing of the past?

Listen to the interview here on BBC iPlayer (0:05.30) >>

Prof Mark Harrison, also looks at the principles and the future of the welfare state after George Osborne’s cuts on his blog:

Panic is in the air, especially in the British public sector. Yesterday's comprehensive spending review prompted BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire to ask me this morning if this marks the end of Britain’s welfare state.

There will be a major contraction, for sure. At the same time, it is far from the end of welfarism as we have known it since the late 1940s. George Osborne’s cuts, if and when they take effect, will bring the government’s share of GDP back down just below 40 percent – that is, where it was in the early 2000s. At that time, less than a decade ago, the welfare state was still alive and well.

What will have changed? Most likely tomorrow's welfare state will be smaller than it is now. And the principles on which it is based are evolving. But given the scale of cutbacks, the evolution of the principles is surprisingly slow.

Read the full blog post here >>

An Academic Analysis

The morning after the Comprehensive Spending Review announcements, Prof Abhinay Muthoo from the Department of Economics, Prof Wyn Grant from the Department of Politics and International Studies, and David Elmes, Director of the Global Energy MBA at Warwick Business School, got together to talk through some of the details in the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review .

Watch the video here >>


October 15, 2010

Warwick Week – Fairness, The Browne Review, Government Spending and 100 Objects

Warwick in the News

What is Fairness?
What is a fair world? What does it mean to be fair? This week, Radio 4 have been exploring the topic of “fairness” and on Monday, Dr Angie Hobbs, Senior Fellow in the Public Understanding of Philosophy considered the concept of “fairness” and what it means.

It rests on the assumption that each person matters in themselves and is more than a number. To put it formally, persons are separate bearers of human dignity and rights so any distributions, transactions or cuts that disregard the dignity and rights of the individual will therefore, not be fair.

Listen again to Dr Angie Hobbs >> (1:14.09)

Vice-Chancellor comments on the Browne Review
Tuesday saw the publication of Lord Browne’s review on university funding in England. The review recommends a significant increase in the cap on the undergraduate student fees and changes to the pattern of interest rate charges on student loans. Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift commented:

...there is much yet that has to be resolved before we can be sure of the full implications of this review for Warwick or any other English university. The report will be debated and considered by both government and parliament before any of its recommendations are adopted, amended or even set aside. We also await the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR)  which will have a significant impact on the consequences of the Browne review if, as is expected, it includes a significant cut to University funding.

Read the Vice-Chancellor's comments in full >>

Government spending and GDP
Prof Lord Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy (Department of Economics) was on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday discussing government spending and GDP with Jonathan Freedland. The programme compared the present public spending review with the 'Geddes Axe' of 1921-22.
Listen again >>

Mario Vargas Llosa wins Nobel Prize for Literature
Honorary Graduate Mario Vargas Llosa has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The award was given "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat."
Find out more about Mario Vargas >>

A History of the World in 100 Objects
Vice-Chancellor Prof Nigel Thrift appeared on Radio 4’s “History of the World in 100 Objects” on Tuesday discussing the marine chronometer that accompanied Darwin to South America and its role in measuring time and geography.
Listen again >>
(07:27)

Linda Norgrove
The University was saddened to hear the news reports last weekend on the death of WBS student Linda Norgrove. She had almost completed her WBS Distance Learning MBA, and had been serving as an aid worker in Afghanistan. She was taken as a hostage in September and was killed in the course of a rescue attempt on Friday 8 October.
Read more about Linda Norgrove >>

Comment

Higher Education: Who Else Should Pay? Mark Harrison

The Browne report, Securing a sustainable future for higher education in England, says higher education should be paid for by those that benefit from it: our graduates. It also says they should pay later, in easy instalments, and only when they can clearly afford it, with all risk transferred to the government and universities.

It looks to me like a no-brainer ... Yet lots of people are showing signs of moral outrage.
A question the critics seldom address is: Who else should pay for my degree?
The taxpayer is usually implied. But here's the problem: tax-financed higher education involves a lot of poor-to-rich redistribution.

Read more on Professor Mark Harrison’s Blog >>


October 08, 2010

Warwick Week – JLR, Inbetweeners, Digital Healthcare, Warwick Ventures and Alzheimer's

Warwick in the News

Jaguar Land Rover advanced research group to relocate to the University of Warwick
Jaguar Land Rover is to relocate its 170-person advanced research group to the University of Warwick as part of a strategy to raise vehicle production from fewer than 100,000 to 300,000 a year.
Read more on FT.com >>

The Inbetweeners take “A Trip to Warwick”
The latest episode of hit comedy The Inbetweeners saw the guys take a trip to “Warwick”. The show aired on Monday 4th October but as our alumni will have noticed, the show wasn’t actually filmed at Warwick at all! 
Find out more on E4.com >>

Announcements

New Institute of Digital Healthcare
The University of Warwick has joined forces with NHS West Midlands to create the new Institute of Digital Healthcare, a collaboration aimed at improving people’s health and wellbeing through the use of innovative technologies. The Institute was officially launched on Wednesday 6th October.
Read the Press Release >>

Launch of Warwick Ventures Ltd!
After 10 years helping Warwick academics launch spin-out companies and commercialise their research, the University of Warwick's technology transfer office is set to become a spin-out company in its own right. Warwick Ventures Ltd will be launched to a selection of invited guests at London's Buckingham Gate hotel on Monday October 11at an event that will also celebrate the organisation's achievements over the past decade.
Visit the Warwick Ventures website >>

Warwick Comment

Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at University of Warwick backs Alzheimer's drug U-turn by NICE

Professor Donald Singer, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Warwick has spoken in support of new plans to allow access to drugs for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Current rules prevent doctors prescribing three drugs, donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine, in early cases of the disease. However, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)  now says evidence backs the use of drugs for mild symptoms.

Professor Donald Singer said:

The proposal by NICE to extend its guidance to include access for 3 drugs (donepezil, galantamine and rivastigimine) to patients with much milder disease than previously eligible is excellent news for patients with Alzheimer's disease and their families. It is also very encouraging to have in the guidance a new treatment option (memantine) for patients with more severe disease. 

People with serious conditions such as Alzheimer's may naturally express concern about how long this has taken. However it is essential that health policy makers have convincing evidence both for effectiveness and risk before making a medicine available to people who could benefit. Consider the recent public concern about regulation of the diabetes drug rosiglitazone, for which an unexpected increase in cardiovascular risk appears to have occurred after it became widely available. It will still be very important to remain vigilant for possible unexpected risks of the Alzheimer's treatments, as these drugs will now be exposed to large numbers of people, who may also be medically more complex, and therefore more at risk of adverse effects, than in the clinical trials on which the NICE guidance has been based.

Read the article on the Telegraph website >>


October 01, 2010

Warwick Week – Miliband, IGGY, Diabetes, WBS Branding, Life Sciences

Warwick in the News

Wyn Grant discusses David Milband’s departure from front-line politics
Prof Wyn Grant, Politics and International Studies, was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire on Wednesday evening talking about David Miliband’s departure from front-line politics. Wyn said;

I think it was quite difficult for him because he has been the front-runner in the election, up to the last minute he thought that he had won and then to be defeated by a very narrow margin, that was psychologically difficult. He also has a young family and I think he would probably like to spend a bit of time with them as they are growing up.

I think it’s quite possible that at some future shadow cabinet election he might decide then that he can stand again but as he said in his statement he hopes he will be doing policy background work for the party.

Discussing David Miliband’s response to Ed ‘s comments on Iraq, Wyn said:

I think he was really quite annoyed about that comment about Iraq, I mean obviously I think in that speech yesterday Ed Miliband was trying to tack both to the left and to the right and what he said about Iraq was something to reassure those on the left of the party. But of course Iraq’s not really a live issue any more, the live issue in terms of foreign policy is Afghanistan.

Listen to the full discussion on BBC iPlayer (0:26.40) >>

Donald Singer discusses Diabetes on BBC Arabic TV
Professor Donald Singer took part in a live TV interview on BBC Arabic TV Live News on the 26th September for a report on a new gene abnormality in migraine which may provide a new biomarker to help in treatment choice in migraine. It is thought that the new discovery may give clues to development of new treatment approached in selected patients - a further advance in personalising medicines.
Watch the video (translated into Arabic) >>

Nurturing Gifted and Talented Youth
Prof George Rowland, Department of Physics was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire earlier this week talking about the International Gateway for Gifted Youth. Prof Rowland spoke to Annie Othen about the importance of providing opportunities for talented young people to help them reach their potential.
Listen again (1:11.13) >>

Announcements

The New School of Life Sciences
As of today (1 October 2010) the Department of Biological Sciences and Warwick HRI have officially amalgamated to form the new School of Life Sciences. This exciting initiative brings together the renowned research and teaching excellence in the two departments, and will form a platform to further enhance multidisciplinary Life Sciences activity in the University.
Find out more on the Life Sciences website >>

New branding for Warwick Business School
On Monday, Warwick Business School unveiled their new corporate logo and launched a new design for their website. At the official unveiling of the logo, Dean of Warwick Business School, Professor Mark Taylor, said:

Today is the first day of our new WBS brand, and I have to say I am delighted with it. The logo is modern yet timeless, clear and striking, and implies a dynamic and forward-looking institution; the blue background also co-brands us with the rest of the University.

Watch a video of the event on the WBS website >>

Research News

£650,000 Funding Grant Awarded to West Midlands’ Foremost Research Universities
The University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham have been awarded a £650,000 research grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for a collaborative project developing new materials for a highly efficient class of fuel cells. The research will investigate novel doping strategies to improve the performance of electrolyte and electrode materials for use in Solid Oxide Fuel Cell systems.
Read the press release >>



September 24, 2010

Warwick Week 10 – T2K in Japan, Imaginary Numbers, Prince and Prize, Elvin

Warwick in the News

Warwick Big in Japan
BBC Science Correspondent, David Gregory has been in Japan with Dr Gary Barker, Department of Physics and colleagues who are currently investigating the properties of neutrinos in the massive T2K experiment. T2K fires a dense neutrino beam from Tokai on Japan's east coast to a huge detector 300km away in Kamioka - the University of Warwick's job is to construct the detector in Tokai.
Read David Gregory’s blog post from Japan >>
Watch the report on BBC iPlayer  - Midlands Today >>

Imaginary Numbers – In Our Time
Prof Ian Stewart and Prof Caroline Series, Department of Mathematics were discussing "imaginary numbers" with Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and Melvyn Bragg on Thursday's In Our Time programme on Radio 4.
Listen again >>

Prince and Prize for World First Formula 3 Racing Car
The World First Formula 3 racing car from WMG has received two significant accolades this month, confirming its reputation as the ultimate green racing car. Just two weeks ago the car was selected to be one the green technologies presented to The Prince of Wales during visit to Birmingham. Now it has also been shortlisted for the THE (Times Higher) award for Outstanding Engineering Research Team of the Year.
Read more >>

Announcements

Dean of WMS to become next President of Royal Society
The Dean of Warwick Medical School, Professor Peter Winstanley has been appointed as the next President of the Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Professor Winstanley will become the 51st President when he takes up the position in June 2011
Find out more >>

Professor Patrick Unwin awarded Geoffrey Barker Medal
Professor Patrick Unwin, Department of Chemistry has been awarded the Geoffrey Barker Medal by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). This medal is given in recognition of Professor Unwin’s contributions to the field of electrochemistry throughout his career, which have helped raise the UK's standing in this field.
Read more >>

Monash Visit
Colleagues from Monash University have been visiting Warwick this week to participate in a joint senior administrative conference with a group of Warwick senior officers. The aim of the conference is to further develop strategic dialogue between Warwick and Monash in order to continuously improve university performance and student experience.

Research News

Making Silent Electric Vehicles Safer
The University is currently running a major research project to improve the safety of electric vehicles. At the present time, electric vehicles are silent, creating a risk for pedestrians - particularly those with limited sight who rely on the noise that cars make to remain safe on the roads.
Find out more about Elvin the electric vehicle >>
Take part in the interactive evaluation >>

Mass Spectromoty Lab
Earlier this month, the newly built Ion Cyclotron Resonance Laboratory was officially opened at Millburn House which houses state-of-the-art Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) mass spectrometers. These instruments are used for determining the mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) of ions based upon the cyclotron frequency of the ions orbiting in a fixed magnetic field.
Read more about the opening of the labs >>
Visit the research web pages >>

What’s On?

Undergraduate Open Day – Saturday 25th September
Campus will be busy on Saturday as prospective Undergraduate students and their families will be visiting for the University Open Day. 

Knowledge Exchange Workshop: The Digital Good Life - Thursday 30th September 2010
The Knowledge Exchange team at the International Digital Lab are hosting this event for Midlands-based SMEs to ensure good value and efficiency is achieved through business processes.
Find out more about the event >>

Music Centre - Free Lunchtime Concerts
The Music Centre are hosting a series of free lunchtime concerts that are open to the general public during the Autumn term.
Find out more >>


September 10, 2010

Warwick Comment

A recent report into obesity surgery has shown that it "could save millions of pounds". As reported by the BBC this week: "The Office of Health Economics suggests £1.3bn could be saved over three years if a quarter of eligible patients got treatment through more people working and fewer demands on the NHS."

Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown, Chair of Public Health at Warwick Medical School suggests that surgery isnt' the answer to the problem:

Like so many of the treatments modern medicine offers, obesity surgery has helped and will continue to help some obese people greatly. It will also have created serious problems for a small number of people in whom surgery does not go well and overall, like other modern medical treatments, obesity surgery will have remarkably little effect on the public health.

The epidemic of obesity is very serious and it is not going to be solved by surgery or pills. It can only be solved by changing the obesogenic environment we have created and by making it clear that individuals are also responsible for their health. Obesity is caused by eating unhealthily and not taking enough exercise. So it is a problem individuals can solve for themselves.

Sugar intake is critical particularly in the form of fizzy drinks and snacks. Changing to healthier eating patterns, consuming for example more fruit and vegetables, and becoming more physically active both increase feelings of wellbeing so there are immediate positive returns for those who take these steps. Whatever the results the Office of Health Economics study, let us not fool ourselves into thinking that surgery is the answer.


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