London's Population Control Conference Hits The Wrong Targets (Again)

Jul 7, 2012 | Uncategorized

In the next few days there will be yet another conference – this time in London -aiming to control population. It’s poverty which needs to be attacked not people. When poverty reduces there is a natural reduction in population. The population control lobby will use the usual mix of high-mindedness and scaremongering and fail to mention that their zeal has led to gendercide and coercion, to the elimination of up to 200 million girls and to China’s one child policy. As usual they will hit all the wrong targets.

The conference comes within days of the BBC reporting yet another consequence of the population control policies which the west has promoted and the east has enacted. The BBC say that the Chinese authorities have broken up two major child trafficking gangs freeing almost two hundred children. In a statement the Ministry of Public Security said that more than eight hundred suspects had also been arrested.
The BBC reported that:
A total of a hundred and eighty one children were freed in the raids across fifteen Chinese provinces this week. One group of traffickers was, according to official reports, buying children in south-western China for a thousand pounds each, and transporting them by bus to the far side of the country where a boy could be sold for up to four thousand pounds, a girl for half that amount. A second trafficking ring involved a medical clinic in central China. Pregnant women were travelling there as the doctor would help auction their babies. Some parents were selling the newborns as they could not afford to bring up a child, others were seeking to get rid of unwanted baby girls. The price of a child here is said to have depended on the babies’ gender, it’s health and the looks of its parents. In total eight hundred and two people have been arrested. Chinese police say nobody will be allowed to keep a child they have bought.”

It’s a classic example of unintended consequences and there is a much easier way of feeding the populations which the political elites say they want to control.
Mother Teresa once appeared on a coast-to-coast American TV programme which she discovered, during the commercial break, was being sponsored by a company offering pharmaceuticals to reduce obesity. She left the advertisers running for cover when, in the next segment of the programme, she pointed to the cruel paradox that in Calcutta most people had hardly enough food to get them through the day – while in America some people ate so much that they ended up obscenely over- weight needing drugs or surgery.
Like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Ghandi, also commented on our insatiable appetite for endless consumption, remarking that there is “sufficient in this world for people’s needs but not for their greeds”.
The population control lobby -which includes Andrew Mitchell, the British Secretary of State for Development – endlessly attacks people for having children.
They would do better to listen to Mother Teresa and Ghandi and study a recent report by researchers from the London School of Tropical Medicine which found that if obesity were reduced it would be enough to feed an extra one billion people.
Researchers calculated that the weight of the global population at 287 million tonnes, of which 15 million tonnes is due to people being overweight, and 3.5 million tonnes due to obesity.
Our failure to curb excess has a huge impact upon food supplies, water, energy use, and carbon emissions.
Although just 6% of the population live in the USA it is responsible for more than a third of obesity. Britain is seventh in the world league table of over-eating countries.
As Professor Ian Roberts explained: “When people think about environmental sustainability, they immediately focus on population. Actually, when it comes down to it – it’s not how many mouths there are to feed, it’s how much flesh there is on the planet.” Andrew Mitchell please note.
While some of the world starves too many are clearly doing the reverse; and, ironically, both starvation and over feeding can have the same fatal consequences.
So, by addressing the developed world’s spiralling obesity problem it would simultaneously reduce some of the pressure on the developing world – both in terms of their vicious population control programmes – such as China’s one child policy and India’s gendercide of little girls – and in combating the pricing of poor populations out of world food markets.
Hot on the heels of the report from the School of Tropical Medicine, a campaign supported by the Catholic Independent Crossbench Peer, the redoubtable Baroness (Sue) Masham, who Chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Health Group, was making its own headlines, and revealing a possible solution.
The campaign kicked off with a Reception at Westminster entitled “Obesity: The Real Costs”, organised by the National Obesity Forum (NOF), and supported by a national slimming organisation Cambridge Weight Plan. An Early Day Motion was tabled in the House of Commons calling for an overhaul of the way GPs are motivated to address Britain’s biggest health epidemic – and you can ask your MP to sign it.
Dr Matt Capehorn, NOF Clinical Director and Clinical Manager of the Rotherham Institute for Obesity, told the Reception that more than 1.1m Britons are morbidly obese or super obese. An alarming 100,000 of these fell into the super obese category. To put this in perspective, a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18-25 is healthy, 25-30 is overweight, and 30+ is obese. A BMI of 40 – morbidly obese – is the level at which life insurance companies become more reluctant to give cover, as someone’s life is potentially threatened; a BMI of 50 is super obese.
Obesity specialist, Professor Tony Leeds, of London’s Whittington Hospital, and Medical Director of Cambridge Weight Plan, said the cost of treating these groups was substantially higher than previously thought:
“Compared to the non-obese, the medication costs (for heart, joint, gut, chest problems and diabetes) are doubled for those with BMI over 40 and are an extraordinary £6100 per annum (3.5 times higher) for those with a BMI over 50. The super obese could be eating up £450 million per annum in medication in their own right.”
Dr Matt Capehorn told MPs that Britain’s GPs are rewarded financially for recording the number of obese patients – yet, ironically, not for doing anything about it. So, while individual surgeries were pioneering “best practice”, they had no incentive to do more than tick boxes.
He said: “Merely drawing up a register will not prevent a single overweight person from developing type-2 diabetes or a single obese person from having a heart attack.”
That is why the NOF is calling for reform of the Government’s Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) to reward GPs who guide overweight and obese patients into clinically proven weight-management programmes.
Britain should urgently review the way GPs are incentivised through QOF, and open the door to organisations who help address this problem using programmes based upon quality, peer-reviewed, research to demonstrate that their diets work in their own right, and when administered by GPs.
It is not just the millions of people directly affected by obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, cancer, stroke, and heart attack. If obese individuals suffer, so do their families and friends, and the National Health Service faces an unsustainable future as demand continues to soar.
Gluttony is considered to be one of the seven deadly sins and in the thirteenth century St.Gregory the Great set out his own health plan – using Biblical examples that are drawn from the ancient wisdom of the Old Testament – and described five ways in which we might curb our excesses – by examining when we eat; the quality of what we eat; the stimulants we use; the quantity we consume; and the eagerness with which we pursue food. It’s old wisdom which needs a new outing.
While we indulge ourselves in the over-consumption of food and become overweight and obese in the West, the poor starve in the developing world and face coercion to avoid having children. Tackling this crisis is becoming ever more a priority for the benefit of individuals, nations, and the poorest people in the world.

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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