Cup cakes no more.
Has anyone noticed the campaign to reduce the risk of getting sun cancer? There they are, plastered all over fashionable shopping emporiums. Large multicoloured posters showing in gruesome detail stitches and staples on bodies where the melanomas have been cut out during the patient’s history of outdoor activities. First melanoma excised as a result of outdoor tennis, the 2nd four years later, from surfing, 3d from sunbaking, solariums etc. The message is clear. Stay out of the sun and cover up.
The beauty of the campaign is that staying out of the sun can’t be costly or interfere with market forces too much. Ok, perhaps the coconut oil sprayers or ice cream vendors might take home a bit less. Perhaps even swimsuit sellers could suffer. On the other hand, more cover-up items could be sold balancing the loss in swimwear. All in all, a win win for the melanoma fighters and the government is seen to do something for the health of the nation.
I am not sure how the health cost of saving on melanomas compare with saving on the cost of obesity but I reckon that obesity probably outdoes costs of lying in the sun! Has anyone yet seen any posters fighting obesity festooning any of the Shopping Malls columns? I can understand the previous Government poltroonery on obesity or any health concern with Tony Abbott at the helm of health. Hell, anyone can climb on a bike or frolic in the surf as he shows consistently.
Market forces are always king under Liberal Leadership and not even mass hospitalisation or dying of obesity would stir them in tackling it. After all, in a world economic down-turn we have to be careful not to be seen as obstructing anything to do with money making. Do we? Nothing must stir up the dust in the face of profit and free choice, must it?
We know that obesity is going to cost enormously and not just in lives. So, why the deafening silence coming from the present Government? Do the commercial advantages still outweigh the human cost in trying to do something about obesity? I would have thought that the labour Government would have started rigorous campaigns promoting health and good nutrition. We know that leaving it to parents to foster dietary habits in our kids doesn’t work. To break the cycle, we need education of the young first.
The adults that are indifferent to their weight and ignore the warnings are likely to cark it well before their time. We also know that Ambulances, Airlines and even Funeral Parlours are coping with bodies that are becoming bigger and bulkier. Special hoists in Ambulances, Airlines toying with air travel prices per kilo. Funerals having to cope with bigger caskets, taking 6 to 8 pall bearers instead of just 4. Graves are dug deeper, wider and Sydney’s cemeteries running out of space, contemplating burying bodies under footpaths and roadways. In short, a total calamity.
We have the honour of being the biggest in the world. Go around shopping centres and just take a seat and watch shoppers go by. Forget about the adults, just look at the kids. Some at eight or ten years, already with their lower legs splayed apart and thighs rubbing together, hardly able to walk, tummies hanging out and over, but invariably licking or sucking on something.
Some claim it has as much to do with genetics as with bad diets but where were those genes fifty or sixty years ago? Are there a new set of obesity genes suddenly sprouting up? I don’t think so.
In the US, a voluntary set of nutritional standards on food was put into place together with information for shoppers to help make up their minds. It looked good but did not work. Which stressed mother has the time to read about kilo-joules or carbon hydrates on every item? Of course, when the setting of standards was left to those that profit from killer food items, it did not take long when Frooty Loops were found to be on the list of ‘high nutritional value’. It all came to nothing.
If signage with” SMOKING KILLS” are featured everywhere now, why not also have large signs with pointing out unhealthy food and dietary habits. “TRANS FAT KILLS” posters will have to be followed with diet experts at cash registers. Graphic posters with huge bodies being hoisted out of multi story buildings. TV footage of sobbing parents who are visiting their diabetic type 2 children in hospitals, waiting for organ transplants. Australia did extremely well with anti-smoking and the ’cover-up’ campaign, even the anti-litter was until recently doing very well. Should we follow some European countries and provide at least one decent meal to all school children?
We now come to one of the most difficult parts of good nutrition for children and that is the behaviour at ‘tuck shops’. Those mothers running school and sporting tuck shops are a force to reckon with, but those purveyors of sausage rolls and sugary slushies will have to be tackled if the Government is going to get serious about our health. Fancy giving a sign of approval to schools and for sporting events with tuck shops selling bad food?
In October 2009, a group was put together by the federal Government including, wait for it, “Woolworth” and “The Australian Food and Grocery Council”. The aim was to try and increase the intake of fruits, vegetables and wholegrain foods and decrease or reduce consumption of harmful fats.
I have yet to see baskets of fruit and vegetables at the cash registers replacing the hugely profitable but pernicious Violent Crunchie Bar and Flossy Tossy Syrup packets. Instead, despite all the attention on obesity, nothing must stand in the way of allowing consumers their grazing of glistening Trans Fats, sugars and salts during their polystyrene shopping expeditions.
Or so it seems!