Opinion – UK race-disparity audit: Theresa May’s government has put Britain’s inequality on display — Quartz

This is an interesting read. Theresa May‘s government launches a website that offers a complex picture of life for different ethnicities.

Source: UK race-disparity audit: Theresa May’s government has put Britain’s inequality on display — Quartz

Personally, I found the data rather sterile. It needs a rolling commentary to highlight the major findings by theme/ethnicity.

The data is esentially descriptive and does not readily facilitate further analysis.

For meaningful analysis, access to the full data set is required, ideally showing key demographic details like:

Theresa May and David Cameron before her, have tried to provide greater data to facilitate policy decisions. Unfortunately, I fear that this latest data will do little to improve the underlying policies.

There’s a risk here of journalists dipping into the database and cherry-picking their data to embellish a headline.

Ethnicity is a complex subject and without expert commentary, and detailed data sets, it’s not clear how this initiative will help faciltate policy changes.

Thoughts?

Opinion – Obese people deserve surgical treatment, too | Richard Welbourn | Opinion | The Guardian

This Guardian article by bariatric surgeon, Richard Welbourn is full of contradictions. He argues that we should stop judging Britain’s obese people and start treating them surgically, as our European counterparts do.

Source: Obese people deserve surgical treatment, too | Richard Welbourn | Opinion | The Guardian

Welbourn argument highlights different causes of obesity. At one extreme, he suggests:

For severely obese people, the hormonal effects of being obese mean that medical therapies, lifestyle changes and attempts at dieting rarely succeed in maintaining long-term, clinically beneficial weight loss.

But on the other hand, he argues:

The World Health Organisation identifies obesity as a chronic disease. But on the other side we have the popular perception – shared by some healthcare professionals – that it is purely a lifestyle choice. This totally disregards the fact that, driven by powerful food industry advertising, it is those who are poor who are most affected.

Reality is more complex. We can imagine a continuum of triggers for obesity, ranging from hormonal effects from birth to lifestyle choices of junk-food and laziness. Whilst, there’s a strong case for those with hormonal defects, the case for the other end of the continuum is less robust as many clinicians know – for many of these people obesity is a lifestyle choice.

In a world of severely rationed healthcare, surely improving cancer outcomes takes precedence over bariatric surgery for the obesity driven by lifestyle choice? Surely, governments have better options to tax junk food and promote healthcare?

Thoughts?