Veteran BBC star: Let obese people die to save health care and planet

BBC presenter Michael Buerk has claimed fat people should be left to die to save the National Health Service (NHS) money. Source: Getty

Veteran BBC presenter Michael Buerk has controversially claimed obese people should be left to die to help save the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) money and stop overpopulation.

Speaking to the Radio Times this week, the 73-year-old said obesity should not be classed as a disease as it’s costing the NHS too much money that could be better spent elsewhere, The Sun reports.

Instead of encouraging people to seek treatment for obesity, Buerk claimed they should be “nudged” in the right direction but ultimately left alone to fend for themselves. Describing it as a “selfless sacrifice”, the journalist said it will solve many problems around the world including climate change.

“The obese will die a decade earlier than the rest of us; see it as a selfless sacrifice in the fight against demographic imbalance, overpopulation and climate change,” he wrote in the news outlet, according to The Sun.

“Give them the facts to make informed decision, by all means, ‘nudge’ all you like, but in the end – leave couch potatoes alone. They’re weak, not ill.”

Read more: Obesity causes more cancer than smoking, new study shows

Meanwhile, head of the NHS Simon Stevens has warned obesity could bankrupt the NHS if no action is taken to reduce the number of overweight people throughout the UK.

“If as a nation we keep piling on the pounds around the waistline, we’ll be piling on the pounds in terms of future taxes needed just to keep the NHS afloat,” he told The Times.

While some may agree that those suffering with obesity need to take action into their own hands and lose the weight without the help of the NHS, one woman has slammed Buerk for his comments.

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In an opinion piece written for Metro, Gillian Fisher claimed not all fat people are “lazy TV junkies” who constantly reach for the biscuit barrel. The woman, who admitted to being a size 20 herself, labelled Buerk’s words hurtful and said it could lead to mental health problems for the overweight population.

“This damming attack of ‘it’s your fault and you can put it right. Stop guzzling’ is beyond offensive,” she wrote in Metro. “This blame mentality, that being fat is automatically a problem and is something you ought to change again reinforces the negative view of fatness.”

Read more: Apple body shape linked to increased risk of death, study shows

Fisher added: “It fails completely to address how challenging weight loss can be, especially if emotional issues or personal problems underlie your relationship with food, as is the case with me.”

Do you agree with Michael Buerk that obese people should be left to die? Or do you find his comments offensive?

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