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Obesity : Need for More Policy

December 27, 2010

An Oxford University study shows that British men are a stone heavier than in 1986. The British Heart Foundation described this as a ticking time bomb for male health with greater risks of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

We become wealthier. There are more food outlets. What do we do ? Gorge on fats, sugar and salt, eating our way to ill health. What a rebuttal to any old fashioned view that the human animal is reformable, humanity enlightened, progress inevitable.

More opportunity…and the human animal just stuffs himself. Makes you weep.

“What a piece of work is man” .

I helped in a campaign to get Australian governments to put calorie counts on the menus of fast service food outlets and Victoria and NSW have agreed to do it which means the chain restaurants will be obliged to give up this customer information in all states, as they are in the US.

This shocking British data, which I’m sure is replicated in Australia, points to the need for further action – mainly in food composition. That is, more regulation of what goes into the fried chicken and hamburgers – the quantity and the type of fat, sugar and salt.

Processed food is the underlying cause of the obesity epidemic. And the obesity epidemic feeds directly into pressure on hospitals and the health budget. It’s probably the thing we can fix most readily.

One Comment
  1. Rationalist permalink
    December 27, 2010 10:06 pm

    I am sure there are many pieces of regulation that I would welcome to make our food more healthy. Action on trans fats would be one thing that comes to mind or perhaps some kind of regulatory schedule to bring fast foods into worlds best practice… however you decide that. Is that something that could be done at a state level?

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