A tax on sugary drinks helps in the diabetes fight – a little

FT, 13 November 2014
Author: Jude Webber
“When it comes to diabetes, Mexico is a ticking time bomb. Seven out of 10 adults and a third of children are obese or overweight – a principal cause of type 2 diabetes, which has risen sharply in Latin America’s second-largest economy – and 9.2 per cent of Mexicans have been given a preliminary diagnosis of diabetes. But the Mexican Diabetes Federation warns that the number of sufferers could in fact be twice as high.”
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Digital junk: food and beverage marketing on Facebook

The Conversation, 17 October 2014
Author: Becky Freeman
“We all know obesity is a common, serious, and costly health issue. Junk food manufacturers are increasingly targeting young people aged 15 to 24 years. These young people use the internet for social networking or gaming. So it’s not surprising marketers are placing a firm grip on Facebook.”
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Unhealthy foods feature prominently on children’s TV, study shows

BMJ 2014;349:g4416
Author: Jacqui Wise

“Unhealthy foods and sugary drinks are commonly shown on children’s television programmes in the United Kingdom and Ireland, often portrayed in a positive light, new research shows. The researchers assessed the frequency and type of food and drink portrayals in children’s television programmes between 6 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday on the BBC and RTE channels in 2010. Both channels are national broadcast channels that do not carry advertising. The research, published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, shows that 1155 food and drink cues were recorded over 82.5 hours of programming, making up 4.8% of the total broadcast material…”

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Food health rating gets official nod but stays voluntary

Australian Financial Review, 28 June 2014
Author: Joanna Mather

“A contentious health star rating system for food and drink has been given the go-ahead but will be voluntary, allaying concerns from grocery companies. Health and agriculture ministers meeting in Sydney on Friday agreed to push ahead with a voluntary, front-of-packet labelling system. Five stars will indicate the healthiest choice… Companies wanting to take part will have an extended five-year time frame to move to the new system. There will be a review after two years…”

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New York: Soda Ban Bust Called Setback Not Defeat

Medpage Today, 27 June 2014
Author: Kristina Fiore

“Public health advocates aren’t discouraged by a New York court’s decision to put the cap back on former Mayor Bloomberg’s super-sized soda ban. ‘Many major public health campaigns, most notably involving car accident fatalities or tobacco related disease, have endured set-backs along the road to success,’ said David Ludwig, MD, PhD, an obesity researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital. The ruling ‘shouldn’t dampen enthusiasm for public health action,’ Ludwig said. ‘Rather, we should redouble efforts to enact more comprehensive measures that fall more squarely within well recognized areas of governmental oversight: specifically, regulating manipulative advertisements to children and taxation.'”

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UK government rules out a “sugar tax”

BMJ 2014;348:g4216
Author: Matthew Limb

“The Department of Health has ruled out introducing a “sugar tax” despite calls to do so by a campaign group trying to curb childhood obesity in the UK. Action on Sugar said measures were needed to ‘change the food environment’ as one in five 10-11 year olds was now obese and one in three was overweight…”

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Yes Minister performance on food industry conflict earns Assistant Health Minister Nash a censure

Croakey, the Crikey health blog, online 6 March 2014
Author: Marie McInerney
“Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash has been censured by the Senate for misleading it and refusing to produce documentation on the “undertakings” given by her former chief of staff Alastair Furnival to “separate him” from his former role as a food industry lobbyist.”
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WHO opens public consultation on draft sugars guideline

WHO, media release 5 March 2014
“WHO is launching a public consultation on its draft guideline on sugars intake. When finalized, the guideline will provide countries with recommendations on limiting the consumption of sugars to reduce public health problems like obesity and dental caries (commonly referred to as tooth decay).”
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Free or government-sponsored gym memberships needed to combat Queensland’s obesity epidemic Diabetes Queensland doctor survey finds

News Limited, AP, November 18, 2013

“Free or government-sponsored gym memberships are needed as Queensland doctors buckle under the pressure of the state’s obese. Two thirds of Queensland doctors have said they are spending almost half their time treating obesity-related conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, sparking a need for drastic action. Free gym memberships, a ban on sugary drinks in locations frequented by children and a junk-food tax have been proposed.”

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