November 14, 2013

Nudging in the U.K.: labeling stairwells in public buildings with calorie counts.

"Using a dedicated website and app, people will be able to scan 'smart signs' on stairs and track their number of calories burnt over time."
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “Anything that gets people more active and helps tackle obesity is a good thing in my book. This initiative is a great mix of old fashioned common sense and smart technology to track and incentivise.”
Anything?

StepJockey got a £50 million government grant for that website and app. Its founder Helen Nuki says:
"The world is a gym and we aim to label it as such. It has the added benefit of cutting carbon emissions by reducing the number of lift journeys."
Ah, these Brits, always leading the way. Shakespeare wrote:
All the world's a gym,
And all the men and women merely gymrats:
They have their sidewalks and their stairwells;
And one man in his time burns many calories...

36 comments:

Moose said...

You'll have to get a waiver in the future if you have bad knees...

NotquiteunBuckley said...

It would seem at only 50 million Euros the project is severely underfunded. Maybe America could borrow another extra 75 billion American dollars from China and show these Brits how it's done.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Boris must like those Olde Tyme "dance boy! BANG BANG BANG" videos with cowboys shooting at the feet of their inferiors.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

I don't want obesity tackled.

I want it eliminated.

It is gross. I am offended by it and any fatties ought to pay me for their offense-causing fat. Moreover, fatties ought to get no medical care. They don't care for themselves, why should the medical profession care for them, unless it is to line the pockets of the rich millionaire doctors and administrators?

David said...

$75 million!

Just for starters too.

I'm in Washington, D.C. today. Lots of construction, lots of offices, lots and lots and lots.

People are rich, rich, rich in our nation's capital.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Reactionary racists, hearing Marley sing "only the fittest of the fittest shall survive," have obviously decided to become obese to showcase their fat-coded racism and anti-Marleyism.

Are you a racist? If not you shall support Marley, not his racist enemies.

Henry said...

That reminds me of the famous Shakespearean sonnet: "Shall I compare thee to an elevator?"

Shall I compare thee to an elevator?
Thou art more spartan and more caloric.
Long cables lift the cage up to a floor,
And standing in it hath no public physic.

rhhardin said...

If you walk upstairs for a peanut, you'll lose weight while snacking as much as you want.

One peanut per trip.

surfed said...

Having fun with Billy Shakespeare is not nearly as much fun as having a go at Bob...

rehajm said...

Johnson is quite a character. He's apparently not immune to the lures of snake oil salesmen.

rhhardin said...

Elevators are counterweighted, so the trip up doesn't necessarily take any energy.

It might be zero both ways if the balance is perfect, provided you don't have to call the empty elevator.

Ann Althouse said...

"Having fun with Billy Shakespeare is not nearly as much fun as having a go at Bob…"

It’s nothing. It’s something I learned over in England.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Anything" is not good. What if, to help combat obesity, I authorized people to force people with high BMIs to run on treadmills or be flogged?

"Anything" is such a dangerous thing.

cubanbob said...

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “Anything that gets people more active and helps tackle obesity is a good thing in my book. This initiative is a great mix of old fashioned common sense and smart technology to track and incentives.”

A small c Communist is what passes for a Conservative today in the UK. Of course the easiest way to eliminate obesity is to institute Cuban style food ration books and make it a crime to sell food outside the rationing system.

EMD said...

You know what this means ... SHORTS as far as the eye can see.

Peter said...

"Elevators are counterweighted, so the trip up doesn't necessarily take any energy."

Well the elevator motor does expend energy to accelerate, and to overcome friction. I don't know if the counterweight is selected to balance an empty elevator, or one with an average load. Although I'd agree that not using energy to ride the elevator will make very little difference; it's just not going to save the planet from heat death.

Other than that, the world is indeed a gym- one surely does not need expensive equipment to get some exercise. Although I don't see why it's necessary to spend 50 million euros to point that out.

Uncle Pavian said...

The Khmer Rouge got people active when they ruled Democratic Kampuchea back in the 1970s. They locked up all the food, too, so by the time they were driven from the scene, there wasn't an obese person to be found in the whole country.

Uncle Pavian said...

The Khmer Rouge got people active when they ruled Democratic Kampuchea back in the 1970s. They locked up all the food, too, so by the time they were driven from the scene, there wasn't an obese person to be found in the whole country.

Strelnikov said...

We sweat and strain our hour on the stage.

David-2 said...

@7:15 NotquiteunBuckley said...

"It would seem at only 50 million Euros the project is severely underfunded. Maybe America could borrow another extra 75 billion American dollars from China and show these Brits how it's done."

This is the best they can do. The poor brits are suffering under a government regime promising life-time austerity. They can only afford 80 million dollars worth of anti-obesity stairwell signs.

David-2 said...

(By the way, Althouse readers, try not to be provincial: £ ≠ €.)

lemondog said...

Hey Mayor Wimp, here are some suggestions:

Anything that gets people more active...

Zzzzzzzzzzzt.......electrify public sidewalks, stairs and hand-railings. Create dog hurdles in order to access buildings and eliminate all automatic-opening doors. Have police taser slow movers. Sporadically release zoo wild animals to prowl.

Better yet, seal up all doors to public buildings replace with rappelling equipment.

southcentralpa said...

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they took the lift,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
Of the Calories they burned upon the stairwell ...

Lydia said...

Boris Johnson is at heart just a silly fop. How he must miss his Bullingdon dining club days, when he could trash restaurants and have daddy pick up the bill for the damage.

Earnest Prole said...

I recall that walking a horizontal distance has a larger carbon footprint than driving it in a car, so the same is surely true walking a vertical distance versus riding it in a counterweighted elevator with an efficient electric motor. Sadly the bien-pensant world is filled with traps like this.

Megaera said...

Were it not for the cost, this would simply be silly. Given the money, it's grotesque. It presumes the validity of calories-in-calories-out as THE weight-loss paradigm, and as a vast number of bariatric researchers (not to mention desperate overweight people) could tell you, for a lot of unhappy dieters weight loss is simply not a mathematically sterile matter of eat-this-number-of-calories-exercise-this-number-of-calories-SUCCESS,YAY,YOU'RESKINNY!!!! Besides, the actual number of calories someone is going to expend walking up a staircase is depressingly small. Walk a mile in 10-12 minutes, you burn less than 100 calories: row, uninterrupted, AT SPEED for an hour, you burn about 480 calories, eat a hamburger and you've wasted that effort and you're back in the caloric hole.

Megaera said...

Were it not for the cost, this would simply be silly. Given the money, it's grotesque. It presumes the validity of calories-in-calories-out as THE weight-loss paradigm, and as a vast number of bariatric researchers (not to mention desperate overweight people) could tell you, for a lot of unhappy dieters weight loss is simply not a mathematically sterile matter of eat-this-number-of-calories-exercise-this-number-of-calories-SUCCESS,YAY,YOU'RESKINNY!!!! Besides, the actual number of calories someone is going to expend walking up a staircase is depressingly small. Walk a mile in 10-12 minutes, you burn less than 100 calories: row, uninterrupted, AT SPEED for an hour, you burn about 480 calories, eat a hamburger and you've wasted that effort and you're back in the caloric hole.

Andy Freeman said...

> Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London: "Anything that gets people more active and helps tackle obesity is a good thing in my book."

Using a punching bag burns a lot of calories. (Even the somewhat overweight boxers are quite active. The few that appear obese are actually extremely muscular.)

I thank Johnson for supporting and finding yet another reason to support my proposal to make it legal to pummel politicians.

Andy Freeman said...

If we're not going to provide state funded medical care to the obese (or smokers), surely we shouldn't force them to pay taxes that support said medical care.

Andy Freeman said...

Since the calorie count associated with stair climbing depends on the mass of the individual, we'll need scales in stairwells that read out calories per flight.

ken in sc said...

Just curious, what does Helen Nuki look like—objectively?

If she is at the top of the stairs, would I really want to go up?

jr565 said...

Not all calories are the same though:
http://www.runnersworld.com/the-starting-line/calorie-count-not-all-calories-are-created-equal?page=single

The idea of calories in calories out is in fact a simplistic understanding of why people get fat. Sugar seems to be the bigger culprit. So. If you have 100 calories of broccoli or some fiber rich food, and 100 calories of cookie dough ice cream its not the same thing.
Therefore, what is the point of posting this information, when its not even accurate or complete.


jr565 said...

Liposuction would also tackle obesity. Why not mandatory liposuction?
Put treadmills under everyone's desk and have the phone and computer run based on how fast you run. If you need to get a document out you better run faster!

Simple solutions.

jr565 said...

It would seem at only 50 million Euros the project is severely underfunded. Maybe America could borrow another extra 75 billion American dollars from China and show these Brits how it's done.

why go so low tech? Just make an app for it and require everyone to download it. Have it posted on the elevator kiosks. Or instead of Muzak in supermarkets have someone read off calorie counts.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Score the skin through the fat per Martha Stewart, and I agree.

This is duck breast.

Not Oregon Ducks football which broke my heart.

Worst loss of my fan career was Oregon/Wisconsin Rose Bowl.

I really thought the cheating scandals would have been brought to light by now and I would be vindicated, like R. Wilson.

Hazy Dave said...

Fat people burn more calories climbing stairs than skinny people do, ever think of that one, ENGLAND?

What's the waiting time for an NHS knee replacement these days?