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    Jamie Hayes

    Our government has already wasted many millions with the Measure Up campaign that is designed to make overweight people aware that their weight might carry a risk. I have not seen any evidence that this campaign has had any effect on obesity levels, but read that they are considering throwing more of our money at it. Ironically Health departments are addicted to “evidenced-based treatments and interventions” and only support programs with evidence. Proponents of lap banding can afford to invest on getting the evidence, as the cost and profit return is so high. Meanwhile there are not the funds to assess many of the quality commercial lifestyle based programs that are provided at a community level at an affordable cost to those who want a solution (versus those who need it but don’t want it or don’t want to or can’t pay for it).
    The rules of evidence and the title “approved provider” should be high if the risks are high (surgery). Equally the rules of evidence and access should be low if the risks are low. The risks of prescribing a healthy diet and exercise are low for most except the minority at-risk individuals. Governments believe that “health” should only be delivered by Medicare approved providers: doctors, dieticians and exercise physiologists. But overweight is primarily a lifestyle caused condition that for most overweight people does not require medication and surgery, but lifestyle (diet and physical activity) modification. There are affordable accessible commercial lifestyle programs (provided by gyms and commercial diet programs) available and for many they are successful and affordable, but as they are not provided by doctors (et al) they are not “approved” for rebates. While the government considers the divisive issue of throwing money at expensive surgery and ineffective public awareness campaigns, why not consider helping people who want to help themselves and helping business (who employ people) at the same time. Rebates can be provided on a “no-risk” basis. Instead of subsidising courses, they could provide REBATES ON RESULTS. This means that people have to make and effort to get the rebate. No result = no cost to government.
    To the argument that no funds should go to help these people… The community already pays a huge a growing price for the overweight and obese in extra medicare claims and hospital queues. And so it’s a good investment to reduce the community burden with affordable solutions. Clearly it will take fresh thinking at a government level to think outside the “approved provider” rules.

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    Er? What?

    Where are the policies regarding the gradual reduction of salt & sugar in manufactured food? Or even replacement of ordinary sugar with low gi sugar? Where are the suggestions to increase fibre content of foods made with white flour?

    Where is the suggested action against those manufacturers who choose to lag behind in making such reductions, substitutions or additions?

    The solutions are out there…


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