Saturday, January 26, 2008

Getting a Grip on Obesity

Consistent use of the afore-mentioned KW turbo-whisk will inevitably lead to an expansion of the old bogsey-belly. This is no laughing matter, as it is not particularly easy for a VIP to lose weight. Having crappy eye-sight makes it easy to lose many things, but not body lard. Walking too fast is fraught with dangers (see lamppost post below) and it can be hard to find a suitable sport in which to take part. So, I have resigned myself to hauling my fat backside to my local gym twice a week. There, I get to shed a few ounces whilst humiliating myself at the same time. For instance, this week, having exhausted my interest in exhausting myself on a bike that goes nowhere, I decided to do some more challenging stuff, and headed for the free weights. The fitness instructor, a nice chap with elbows which I must discuss further in a moment, wasted no time in remindingme what a complete wimp I am. "You'd better start by just lifting the bar without any weights," he explained, following up with "It weighs twenty kilos on its own." But it was too late. By very nicely trying to preserve my physical well-being, he had inadvertently dealt a crushing blow to my ego.

The problem of obesity is one which, although troubling to us VIPs, is also one with which we can be of great service to the nation. You might think that those of us who cannot see would not notice the growing problem of growing waistlines. Not so. Better still, we feel it happening right between our fingers. Every time we accept a guiding arm, we gather evidence of the health of the nation. Forget Body Mass Index, what the Government should be using is Blind Man's Index-finger. Taking hold of someone's elbow gives a very reliable predictive test of their weight. I would estimate that around 70% of the arms that have guided me over the past year have been limbs in need of slims. Of course, there is a huge variety, ranging from the "Skeletor" at one extreme, where care must be taken not to snap the guide's arm, to those where holding on at all is not really possible with only one hand.

Unlike the conventional measures like the BMI, we can also ascertain the difference between a big flabby arm and a big fit arm, like that of my gym instructor, which feels like a smallish tree trunk.

In just the same way that we gather TV ratings or weather predictions from volunteers around the country, an army of volunteer blind people could be out there each day sending back data that could shape the future of services like the NHS. The data could be analysed in a national flaboratory.

1 comment:

walter bear's friend said...

Hmmm! As one of those friendly folk who has offered my elbow to old Bogsey I was a bit alarmed about his ability to act as a "flabometer". Of all the people I know I thought that you at least would be one who could imagine me as a sylph-like movie idol rather than the reality of a frumpish 50+ who needs to take more exercise. Never mind it hasn't stopped me leading you along corridors you don't expect to go along and wondering why you are so slow. I hope that you get your guide dog soon. I miss having something cuddly to stroke in the office!!