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obesity « Previous | |Next »
July 30, 2006

Australia appears to have lost the battle of the bulge with more than half of adults now admitting they are either overweight or obese--according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The Bureau of Statistics figures show that the proportion of adults classified as overweight or obese rose in the past 10 years from 52 per cent to 62 per cent for men and from 37 per cent to 45 per cent for women - giving a combined rise for both sexes from about 44 per cent to about 53 per cent.


Obesity now affects more people than smoking, heavy drinking or poverty. We are a fat nation by world standards. Despite seven reports since 1997 into obesity, Australia had failed to attack obesity as a chronic condition and Australians would continue to get fatter at a high social cost.

The modern supply of cheap, energy-rich food made it difficult for many people to temper their intake Yet the commonwealth government has said no to the regulation of the advertising of the junk food industry, which was advocated by the states. Both John Howard, the Prime Minister, and Tony Abbott, the Health Minister, say that weight control is a matter of personal responsibility and does not require govenment regulation or intervention.

Is this benign neglect?

If weight control is a matter of personal responsibility means that consumer responsibility in health promotion and prevention is now accorded a central role in achieving affordable care, then what is needed is creating an an environment that favours healthy weight. One shot solutions---ie., a single cause-single remedy public health problem---are not going to work because of the complexity of the causes--food, lack of excercise, tv advertising, urban design. For instance, the places where children's most important food choices are made (school and family) need to be targeted.

Paul Goss argues that fatty foods shouls be banned in canteens, school report cards would proide information on a children's body mass index, parents and childrern would recieve far moe educaion about appropriate eating and governments would provide more in-school and after school exercise opportunities.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:12 PM | | Comments (0)