Posts Tagged ‘Public health campaigns’

Life as we know it is under threat. It’s doomed because of the greenhouse effect, acid rain and holes in the ozone layer. These have taken over from biblical prophecy as the imminent reason for the end of our existence. Like Christianity they offer hope, for even at this late hour all is not lost. If we would only accept the error of our ways and repent. If we give up our merciless quest for more then eternal life still beckons, at least for our species. It is survival of the species that is being fought for by the environmentalists, not personal survival. This is clearly demonstrated by the fuss over global warming.

Global warming is a predicted environmental catastrophe that threatens to kill many millions of people in fifty to a hundred years time. Most of us will be dead and buried long before the its more catastrophic effects begin to bite. Nevertheless, to curtail greenhouse gas emissions politicians are being urged to put policies into place that will destroy jobs. There is little doubt that unemployed people get sicker and die sooner than those in employment. Those pushing for governments to curtail greenhouse gasses are in effect asking them to start killing people now, to possibly save lives in fifty or a hundred years time.

There is nothing odd about sentencing people to an early death, because of weather reports for mid way through the next century. Who cares that weather reports get increasingly unreliable beyond about three days into the future. After all, their unreliability is only due to the impact of chaos on meteorological models. Chaos has the effect of making little variations turn into big deviations over time. Now, what impact do you think variations which make weather reports for more than three days into the future unreliable, are going to have on weather reports for fifty or a hundred years time. You have just thought the unthinkable. Go and wash your brain out with soap and water. If you are not brainwashed, you might think the world had gone mad. Even then you might think it mad, but for different reasons.

But what if you are a selfish individual and don’t give a damn about the species. Perhaps you want humanity to die out so fewer other species become extinct. Well, you still can’t relax and have fun. It’s too dangerous. Cigarettes, alcohol and pesticides or fat in your food could shorten your life. In fact, whatever you enjoy doing is probably harmful to your health. Not surprising really, as almost everything is hazardous to our health. If you make a rat drink enough water, it will die. This alone is enough evidence for some health nut to preach against the dangers of consuming water. Especially if they know of the Spanish inquisition’s habit of torturing people by forcing water down their throats until their stomach burst. Leaving little room for doubt that water consumption can be as injurious to people as rats. People can also get soggy brains if they drink too much water. Before glue sniffing became popular it was people sculling water for a cheap high that was the danger. Now it’s ecstasy users who need to be careful not to get carried away while following public health warnings about the risks of becoming dehydrated while dancing all night.

Perhaps consuming water is a bit of an extreme example; it’s probably not harmful to your health. You might think that if it is not bad for you, then there is no reason to avoid it. But that’s not how public health works. Just because water will not kill you, does not mean you should not avoid it. The question is if you would live longer if you drank something else instead? This is the test upon which the acceptability of drinking water hinges. Armchairs can serve as a good allergy. People do not die because they sit in a comfortable chair. But this does not mean people should be left in peace to sit in comfy chairs. Oh, no. The question is, do they live as long as people who spend their time exercising rather than sitting in comfortable chairs. If not, then this is reason enough for a public health campaign to get people out of their comfortable chairs and into the gym.

Campaigns that make people exercise more might have another effect. They could make people edgy when sitting in their favorite armchair. People might start getting a nagging feeling when watching television or reading a book. The campaign could make some people think they ought to be exercising rather than relaxing. In fact it probably has to, if it is going to be a successful public health campaign. This is not necessarily a good thing. People who are unable to relax are liable to do something stupid or unpleasant. Many even think that being unable to relax is unhealthy and pay others to teach them how to relax. Meditation is particularly popular. While there are a variety of ways to meditate, the most popular is to stop thinking. No chance of guilty thoughts stopping you from relaxing if you are no longer thinking. Others get help from psychiatrists.

Another effect of public health campaigns is to stop the money they use from being spent on something else. If the something else is an environmental group, then this benefit ought to be considered when examining the campaign merits. Successful environmental action is liable to be far more damaging than successful public health campaigns.


Getting lucky and having a night of mad passionate sex is not what it used to be. You will not even be sure you were lucky for about six or so months and the AIDS test comes back negative. Using a condom is sensible, but they are not 100% effective at stopping pregnancies. They are almost certainly going to be less effective at stopping a much smaller virus. Although they do seem to have contained its spread. I can picture the old grim reaper advert with a mass of coffins disappearing into the distance. It’s probably some subliminal effect left over from the original public health campaign back in the 1980’s. It was certainly a very effective campaign.

We probably need something like it for Hepatitis in the 1990’s. It is much more contagious than aids and could cause people incalculable harm. The trouble is there is not the political will to spend the money. They would rather wait until the outbreak reaches epidemic proportions. There are lots of contagious diseases out there that could kill you or make you sick. It’s so scary, but what’s worse is many are a lifestyle thing. We bring about our own ill health through our misdeeds. It’s not like in the old days when they thought someone caused sickness by cursing you. Oh no, nowadays it’s caused by you cursing yourself. Cursing yourself with a poor lifestyle. The wrong foods, insufficient exercise and infected sexual partners.

It’s hard to resist pier pressure and not have another drink when you are in a bar. Maybe it’s the first sign of being an alcoholic. Some people enjoy a drink. Not one or two, but heaps. Getting wasted with your friends on a Friday night, having a laugh and maybe getting “lucky”. It’s amazing how some people manage to get it up without chemical assistance. But the Friday night session down the boozer is binge drinking at its worst. This it the most dangerous type of drinking. Apparently you only need to binge drink once a fortnight to be an alcoholic. Best kiss good-by to those who party several times a week.

It would be great to give up drinking altogether, but studies have shown its even worse for your health to be teetotal than to drink a bit. On the bright side most people don’t smoke anymore. But for many irreversible damage is probably done. Every time they get a dry hacking cough, they will think cancer or emphysema. Someday they will be right. It’s too late for them to “just say no”, having joined their friends behind the bike shed years ago. Talk about suffering for your sins.

I can see it now, a young father collapses clutching his chest and leaving my wife and daughter to fend for themselves. The little child could be with him when the pain hits, just like in the warning on TV. The one where he is swinging her around in the air when it hits and she blame herself for the death. It could happen to anyone of us, if we are not careful. Your spouse could spend the rest of their life regretting not being nice to you just before you died. It’s probably not worth worrying about.

But body weight is a different matter; it certainly is worth worrying about. Apparently if you have some fat around your stomach you are destined to get coronary artery disease, if not a heart attack which kills you instantly. They can strike at any age, even in your twenties. It is sensible to loose some weight and get fit. Fit for life, that was the slogan and never was a truer word said. Exercise enough and the McDonalds you had for lunch will not matter. All that fatty food will not send your cholesterol levels through the roof and clog your arteries.

Fatty food is undoubtedly comfort food and after last night comfort is exactly what I need. Not because of the sex and the danger of aids or hepatitis, nor the drink. Enjoying a drink does not make you an alcoholic, as long as you can stop anytime. But that’s exactly what the kid on television said, just before he turned into a dead head druggie heroin addict without any friends. Even his girlfriend was disgusted and left him. If you become a druggie there is a good chance your friends won’t like you, perhaps they don’t already. No wonder people like fatty food. At least you can be happy when consuming it, or would be if you can stop thinking about the consequences of being fat.

Apparently we are fatter than any generation before us and unless we do something are doomed to an early death. But it is the next generation of children who have the real problem. They eat too much junk food and do not take enough exercise. It’s not surprising really, it is not safe to go outside and exercise. No amount of “stranger danger” commercials warning kids about the risks of talking to people will make them safe. Although it might influence pedophiles and make them assault kids they know, rather than ones they don’t.

Public interest advertising does a good job of alerting us to dangers, but what is the long-term impact. The long-term impact is harder to assess. Take drunk driving. Campaigns to reduce drunk driving have many effects. They probably reduce the carnage on our roads and the consumption of alcohol. Life revolving around the old country tavern may be on the way out in many communities. This may or may not be a good thing. But what does it do to our children. Along with seat belts and child restraints it probably reduces the number of them killed on the roads. This is a good thing. But do drunk driving campaigns have a less obvious and darker side. A side which might outweigh some of their perceived benefits.

Children know they ought to occasionally leave the computer and exercise. This necessitates heading to the great outdoors. But thanks to the drink driving campaign they also know they have to be careful as the next car could be driven by a drunk driver and it might kill them. They will be careful even though they know they might not be able to do anything about it. The car could mount the pavement and wham, that is the end of them. It was on television. Someone having a drink with their mates one minute and a killer the next.

But kids can have quite an imagination an anti drink diving campaign may translate into worrying thoughts along the lines of “my dad will kill someone when he has a drink and get locked away” or “what if someone crashes into mum”. After all, someone could fall asleep at the wheel and crash. Happy family one moment. Dead the next. “Don’t drive, revive” is how the slogan designed to stop that one went. The need to get people to loose weight translates into “maybe dad will have a heart attack now”. Unlikely, but possible. Sometimes people get confused messages and “educational” campaigns will not be exempt from this.

Pollution is also likely to be a major problem, if not now then in the future. Schools tend not to teach children about God anymore, preferring to focus on other issues such as the the environment. No doubt some thought processes run along the following lines. All the nice plants and animals are being killed and it’s my fault. Well our fault. It’s because I get my coke in a can. Or something like that. I don’t want to kill animals, I love my dog Fido. Animals are just like us and we kill them. If I use a plastic bag it will kill a dolphin. They eat them and die. That’s if the horrible fisherman has not killed them first. Dolphins and animals feel everything. They have senses just like us and even have souls, when we are dead we could come back as an animal. My plastic will kill dolphins and then I am a murderer. It’s true, I saw it in a documentary at school. They got this plastic bag out of a whale. But it could have been a dolphin. Cows too. Bags get to the ocean by strangling cows. Whales and dolphins have bigger brains than us and are therefore more intelligent.

It might seem a bit confused, but life is confusing. As they get older the effects of all the public health messages on some peoples subconscious could build up. They might worry excessively about having a heart attack because of eating fat or even of being fat. That is if they can get their mind off cigarettes and their chances of getting cancer. Hopefully they will not get overtly neurotic about using plastic and thereby killing dolphins as there is nothing like maiming mother nature to make people feel bad. Especially if they spent years convinced mum would not come home that evening because of a drunk driver. After all, if they don’t get you then someone who falls asleep at the wheel will.

People do not read as much as they used to. It’s hard to make the time to sit down and read a book when you ought to be exercising. No chance of properly relaxing, either then or over a drink. It’s far too dangerous as someone is bound to get killed. Sex is no release either. Not when that is like playing Russian rulet. Wearing a condom just increases the number of barrels. But wine women and song are pointless because soon we are all going to die in an environmental catastrophe.

Youth suicide is at record levels because our materialistic society is denying people the spirituality necessary to enjoy the wonders of life. Your wages must be docked by the government to do something about it. Public health officials in conjunction with greens and other new age spiritual types need to launch an educational campaign to bring spirituality back into our lives. If everyone spent their life on welfare hugging trees and not doing any other risky activity then we would all live “happily” ever after. At lest that is what the dolphin told me.