UK: Bribing people into eating their veggies

UK: Bribing people into eating their veggies
London: Obesity, smoking, poor eating habits - are common health problems in Britain.

So now Britain's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is considering bribing people to lose weight, stop smoking and eat better.

A scheme that gifted super market vouchers to pregnant women as an incentive to give up smoking did very well as did a scheme in which children were offered toys as a reward for eating more fruit and vegetables.

"On the whole they actually changed behaviour, certainly in the short term and for things like taking medicines or vaccinations or so on. Not quite so sure about the longer term but there is some evidence there that they seem to work fairly effectively there too," said Professor Julian Le Grand, London School of Economics.

The wider public is now being asked to give their views before the policy is formally recommended to Britain's National Health Service.

"The public owns the health care system. How do they feel about doing things this way with their money? And so we asked our citizens council and 60 per cent thought under very strict circumstances it was perhaps OK, 40 per cent didn't and now we're going out for public consultation to find out what the public think. Because it's quite a tricky issue," Sir Michael Rawlins, National Institute for Clinical Excellence said.

The proposal has its critics.

Fiona McEvoy, Taxpayers' Alliance said,"I think it is a waste of money, we have got to prioritise at the moment. For their tax pounds people want medicine, they want equipment, they want front-line care and money should just not be used in this way."
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