Alice Jones: Surely we don't need satnav devices to guide us through our whole lives

 

Share
Related Topics

Just in time for the Christmas blowout, the NHS has revealed its solution to the obesity crisis – a £1,500 talking plate.

The Mandometer is a small tabletop scale which monitors the rate at which food is disappearing from your plate. If users are eating too quickly, a computerised voice tells them to slow down. A small screen also flashes up helpful messages like "Are you feeling full yet?". To which any sane person's response would surely be "Don't be so nosy", followed by "Why on earth am I talking to my plate?".

Research has shown that guzzlers are 84 per cent more likely to be overweight since speed-eating befuddles the mechanisms which tell the brain that the stomach is full. So the science behind it is sound, but that doesn't make it any less weird. Presumably the Mandometer 2.0 will come with additional features which remind users to sit up straight, take their elbows off the table and eat their greens. Perhaps the manufacturers could also phase in different voice options, satnav style, from scolding schoolmarm to nagging nanny, so users can switch off their brains and proceed through life wholly guided by a familiar-sounding autopilot.

With a quarter of UK adults classified as obese (a figure expected to rise to 40 per cent over the next decade) and 225 people a week admitted to hospital due to obesity, according to new figures, something needs to be done. But is electronic nanny crockery the answer?

A robotic dig in the ribs from Big Brother, it's an eccentric take on the Government's favoured "nudge theory" which champions coaxing people into changing their lifestyles via subtle shifts in their environment rather than imposing outright legislation. While any action on obesity is to be welcomed, for the price of one Mandometer (which is, let's face it, likely to go the way of most hi-tech Christmas presents when the batteries run out) you could provide a whole family with free passes to their local leisure centre for a year. It's slick, expensive gimmickry, a decorative sticking plaster, when what is needed is long-term, well-thought-out reform of the only things – health education, school meals, local exercise facilities – that will make a difference in defusing this lumbering time bomb.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station  

General Election 2015: Despite all the seeming cynicism, our political system works

Ian Birrell
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living