Tackling obesity

A coalition of 36 health groups have put together eight key asks to tackle obesity:

  • Time-based restrictions on TV junk food advertising to kids
  • Set clear food reformulation targets
  • Make the Health Star Rating mandatory by July 2019
  • Develop a national active transport strategy
  • Fund weight-related public education campaigns
  • Introduce a 20% health levy on sugary drinks
  • Establish a national obesity taskforce
  • Develop and monitor national diet, physical activity and weight guidelines

CHOICE is currently campaigning on health stars, but what do you think of the above actions?


Additives added to every food imaginable hasn’t been considered in the list above. MSG is implicated in the obesity debate. There was research conducted in 2005 by Spanish and German scientists that found that when rates were given MSG in concentrations only slightly higher than those found in human food, MSG caused a 40% increase in appetite. We know that MSG is added to our food to make foods taste better, is it any surprise that it leads to overeating? It is time to look at the steady increase of MSG in our food over the last 50 years or so and the parallel increase in obesity rates.

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@Additive_Free_Kids What She Said++ !!

… but don’t stop there. Really, the utter sh*t companies put in our food, for no other reason than to (in someones perverted context) make it look/feel/smell/taste “better” … but its not real. There is no need for the plethora of additives, we are better off without them, and in the case where someone wants some kind of special effect (like a specific colour) there are often natural alternatives.

Sadly, when it comes to additives it seems just too hard, they are too entrenched and there is too much money involved. I’d go as far as to say that it could be questioned whether chasing sugar and fat content is even as important as chasing these chemicals.

Obesity is also just one beneficiary of additives - there are plenty of others. Understanding this made a huge difference to our kids, and still does.

Food for thought :slight_smile:


I am not sure if a 20% increase will change consumption patterns too much. It is possible to get un-branded sugar drinks for about $0.50-60 per litre. I believe that imposing a small levy like 20% will be great for generating revenue but possibly will only shift drinker from more expensive smaller container such as cans/small bottles to larger containers (1L+) making them potentially consume more.

What may be better is a flat tax say of $1.00 per litre and this would level out any potential shift in consumption patterns as everything would increase at a flat rate, and not based on the original product cost.

Individuals also need to take more responsibility for what they eat. Treat foods which we grew up with a few decades ago have become part of the daily/weekly diet as the food is cheap, made to taste good to increase consumption (through sugar or salt/flavourings) and also convenient. Education campaigns won’t be very useful when one is bombarded by marketing on packaging in the supermarket. The money would be better spend say running healthy cooking classes in schools to show children that healthy food is easy to prepare, tasty and convenient.

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I have as many as you would like to buy at that price!

I freely yield the point it is possible to buy them for $50-60 per litre. Would the ACCC call it gouging though? .:smiley:

Must have just come back from the future when there is hyperinflation.

Have amended original.


Damn - I was thinking your post was a good justification for drinking malt whiskey instead :wink:

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There is a thread about purifying water where that might be the most pleasant option!

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A news article reports on a study that links drinking sugary soft drinks regardless of whether someone is obese or not, having an increased risk of causing cancer (11 types of cancer in particular were looked at). Another reason to reduce the ingestion of sugar laden drinks.

To read the news article see:


plus from the University of Melbourne two articles about the sugar issue (one that links directly to the study noted above):

A link to the abstract of the study can be found at:

The complete paper may be of interest to Choice in their campaign but I am not able to justify the cost of $35 to access it, whereas Choice may wish to.


Perhaps this partially explains the obesity crisis and increasing health problems in Australia,

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Another article regarding obesity research.

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I eat as much as I want, but rely on my bicycle, rather than genes, to stay a healthy weight :wink:



An article regarding causes of obesity.

Whilst I was waiting for our weekly fish & chips lunch today, a young father who had a couple of small children with him outside the shop popped back in to advice the staff that he forgot to say he did not want any salad on the burger he had ordered.

As he moved, his shirt rose up to reveal his huge stomach which drooped down over the waist of his pants.

I guess some people don’t actually want to risk being too healthy.

My wife & I share 1 piece of crumbed mackeral and 3/4 serve of chips with a some help from our little dog and we never manage to eat all the chips.

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Perhaps for the gent he was raised by parents who had poor dietary guidelines in place. We are often introduced to the foods we later enjoy at a very early age. Thus as the article suggests if the choices were poor from a dietary perspective then the outcomes later in life will more probably be poor. Perhaps for that man the choices he makes now are not so much about health but what his palate deems acceptable which is sad and he would require a good deal of help to turn to better eating choices.


Jane Martin, executive manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, explains why added sugar labelling would help parents make informed decisions on what foods to give their children:

Plus, we review a recent study by the Cancer Council that indicates many food products for infants contain ‘sweet ingredients’:


Will that include beer? It should.

BTW, obesity is not always about the food consumed. There are myriad factors and not all are obvious when someone’s big gut is observed.


Certainly plenty of huge beer guts around, but the sugar content of most beers is very low, since sugar is fermented to produce alcohol. Alcohol has more kJ/kg, but there is significantly less of it in the final product than the amount of sugar used to produce it.