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    Congratulations to TPJ for their great work. The first step in creating healthier environments for children is to introduce a comprehensive food categorisation system (like the traffic light system). This will enable parents & kids to make informed decisions and enable policy makers to begin legislating to control supply and marketing of unhealthy products. Junkfood taxes, supermarket segregation & compulsory marketing and advertising restrictions are needed to control the epidemic. Im sure there will be a lot of hot air from the big corporates, but its been done before with cigarettes (and that was costing Australia less $ in health). The government should realise that McDonalds and Co would make a fabulous new source of health revenue which they could use to subside healthier food options and expand our failing health system.

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    Sense Seeker

    Here in Queensland there was talk of banning advertising for unhealthy foods that targets children. The Qld government appeared genuinely interested, but nonetheless the idea seems to have died a quiet death – or at least a deep freeze. It may have been a smoke screen from the government to make the impression it was taking action, or there may have been some hot air from big corporations involved. I don’t know and hope for a good piece of investigative journalism.

    I do worry about the influence of big business on Australian politics. Powerful vested interests prevented effective policy on climate change. Miners with deep pockets have blunted the mining tax and are working on a complete block in that area, too. In both cases are failures of democracy and the press in Australia: spin trumps science and independent studies, apparently. No reason why food policy would fare differently, with a similar corporate landscape.

    Who would support the Parent Jury’s points? The coalition is very unlikely to do so; it generally favours individual freedom and big business. The ALP might support TPJ’s wishlist in a general sort of way but seems unable to ever come to any specific measures on issues where they meet opposition from big business. The Greens are the best bet for this agenda. Have they got a position on these issues?

    I expect we’ll need TPJ for a while yet. But change is possible, and TPJ helps bringing it about!

  3. 3

    Weary Dunlop

    In Australia, maybe.

    In the UK, maybe not.

    Witness the (roly poly and smoky) Shape of Things to Come, with this latest bit of evidence based policy making from the UK via The Guardian:

    “(UK health Secretary) Andrew Lansley intends to rip up much of the approach to public health…Lansley’s answer involves incentives such as pedometers, which increase users’ physical activity; telling smokers their “lung age”, which makes them more likely to quit; and his belief that “advertising social norms can snap people out of the fantasy that their drinking, smoking or eating habits are the same as everyone else’s”.

    I suspect Lansley’s attitude, and his desired health outcomes may also have something to do with whether one went to Oxbridge, whether one lives in Peckham, and how one’s mental hygeine is holding up.

    Let’s fall to our knees and pray that we don’t get too much of this think-tankery transferred from the UK.

    Especially as we can point to how incredibly successful primary care prevention initiatives such as the lifestyle modification programs have been in overcoming the social determinants of health in Australia.


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