Monday 10 June 2013

Creating the climate

The University of Otago continues lobbying for fat taxes.
At Otago University's Waistline seminar yesterday, where politicians were challenged on ideas like a 20 per cent tax on sugary fizzy drinks, much of the attention was on big-picture regulatory policies, as weight-loss schemes directed at individuals are often not very effective.
Targeting teenage girls might be ideal, "but unfortunately teenagers aren't that receptive" to nutritional and physical activity interventions.

So the population-wide measures, like taxes on sugary drinks, were most likely to make a difference.

Several other researchers threw in traffic-light labelling - to mark foods as healthy or unhealthy - as an important part of combating a food "environment" which promotes obesity.

Professor Robert Beaglehole called for a national strategy on obesity reduction - which National MP Paul Hutchison said the Government would release in months - and for a social movement, as with tobacco control, to create the climate for controls on the food industry. 
[emphasis added]

"Obesity (here) is a public health disaster ... It is a tragedy at the personal, family and social levels. It's a pandemic." 
They want to create the climate for controls on the food industry. I suppose that the study on the social costs of obesity could have been part of that.

Beaglehole won the 2010 Public Health Association award; the PHA highlighted his work chairing the SmokeFree Coalition.




  1. The part that stood out to me was "targeting teenage girls might be ideal". Who in their right mind thinks it is a good idea to have a govt programme telling teenage girls how awful it is to be fat and how you should constantly worry about your diet or else you might get fat. Every single teenage girl I have ever known was already far more concerned about being skinny than they should be. Bloody hell what planet are these people on?

  2. Well, they did conclude that such targeting was likely to be ineffective.

  3. Framing choice as a disease is a moral choice. One I don't agree with, hence why I reach different conclusions to them.

    In fact, it is a choice of frame that I find morally uncomfortable - given the way it treats choice. Their solutions involve actively adding a "cost" if someone chooses to do something, thereby changing behaviour - and their justification is just "it is for their own good". I find this moral position untenable.

  4. Clearly you're in the pockets of Big {Soda, Tobacco, Fat, Gambling, Muesli Bars, Fun, ...}

  5. I'm obviously just rationalising my alcoholism/caffeine addiction. Or maybe they are just projecting their concerns about their lack of self-control onto other people.

    Either way it is obvious who is at fault. Psychologists.

  6. haha to Matt the genius and where is Doug Sellman when we need him