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

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

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

I’m not sure I fancy any meal that’s been cooked up by a computer

John Walsh
Labour leader Ed Miliband delivers a speech on his party's plans for the NHS, in Sale, on Tuesday  

Why is Miliband fixating on the NHS when he’d be better off focussing on the wealth gap?

Andreas Whittam Smith
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore