As ever, a multitude of reading is being produced. Here are some interesting pieces you may have missed:
Health inequities in Australia
A new report by Sharon Friel and Richard Denniss Unfair economic arrangements make us sick provides an interesting look at the link between financial inequities in Australia and health outcomes. The paper looks at financial, social and health inequities in Australia and proposes potential action to address them. The authors conclude:
Positioning health equity and social wellbeing as markers of development means reframing national development to be inclusive of economic growth in a sustainable manner. It also means a society where all people have the freedom to lead healthy and flourishing lives.
A worthwhile read. Click here for the full report.
For those with a bit of reading time on their hands, National Civic Review has published a whole issue dedicated to celebrating 25 years of the Healthy Communities movement in the United States. The edition contains articles on a range of models and interventions that have proven effective.
A glimmer of good news can be found in this article suggesting that childhood obesity rates are plateauing or potentially dropping in developed countries. There is still much, however, to be done on this major public health issue.
In the Australian Journal of Rural Health, editor in chief David Perkins looks at the questions raised by the recent population projections for rural Australia. Will state governments and Medicare Locals be able to collaborate to introduce changes needed to both provide health services and prevent health issued? Click here for the editorial.
Industry under pressure and lobby power
This Financial Times report suggests that pressure is rising on food producers to decrease the amount of sugar in products. The article suggests that a growing body of research regarding sugar and health effects will create further momentum for change.
Companies are already looking at portion reduction and sugar reduction for some products, or in the case of fizzy drinks, diversification into other products. Not surprisingly, there are industry claims that the WHO call for tax changes to impact consumer behaviour is unnecessary as change is already being made. For the full article click here.
A new systematic review has looked at the extent of the tobacco industry’s lobbying tactics. The arguments used by the industry will look familiar to public health advocates and include:
- That a proposed policy will have negative unintended consequences – for example for the economy or public health.
- That there is insufficient evidence that a proposed policy will work.
- That there are legal barriers to regulation – including that it infringes the legal rights of a company.
- That a proposed regulation is unnecessary because the industry does not market to young people and / or adheres to a voluntary code.
For an overview of the paper and link to the full study, click here.
The search for efficiencies in health care
In an area such as health where funding constraints are the usual concern among services, discussion about the overuse and misuse of health services can be missed as an area of focus.
Reducing Overuse and Misuse: State Strategies to Improve Quality and Cost of Health looks at American efforts to reduce overuse and misuse of healthcare services. While not all examples are relevant to Australia’s service model, there is certainly some food for thought.
In this interesting Australian study comparing costs and outcomes of three models maternity care (caseload midwifery, standard hospital care and private obstetric care), the authors suggest that cost reductions may be achieved through reorganisation of public hospital care.