Alex Massie

Tales from the Nanny State

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Good grief.

A TEAM of NHS nurses is patrolling Scotland's streets to target pot-bellied members of the public and tell them how to lose weight.

Armed with measuring tapes to check waists and equipment to test blood pressure, the "Street Nurses" are policing busy shopping centres, supermarkets and community centres.

Any man with a paunch, or woman with an "apple-shaped" body whose waist measurement is higher than recommended limits is given diet and lifestyle advice or referred to local slimming classes.

Under the scheme the nurses, wearing high-visibility waistcoats, set up portable tables and chairs in town centres to monitor passers-by. If they spot someone who looks overweight they will approach them and strike up a conversation about their health, inviting them to have a "rapid nursing assessment", which includes having their waist measured and their blood pressure checked...

Overweight women can be referred to local Weight Watchers meetings, and men are sent to the NHS Ayrshire and Arran men-only weight loss club 'Slimmin Withoot Wimmin'. Locals can also attend cookery classes where they learn how to prepare healthy meals on a low budget.

UPDATE: I'm too fat to stir myself to anger, so I've outsourced my rage to Mr Eugenides.

UPDATE 2: My father put it well this evening - "Alex Salmond better not risk a visit to Ayrshire..."

[Hat-tip: Freedom and Whisky.]

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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