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Howard: obesity is fault of individuals, not us!

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  • Howard: obesity is fault of individuals, not us!

    Ad ban won't stop obesity: Abbott
    July 28, 2006 09:18am

    AUSTRALIA'S obesity epidemic will not be solved just by banning prime time junk food ads, federal Health Minister Tony Abbott said.

    Mr Abbott said the Federal Government was pursuing responsible advertising through the communications portfolio and anti-obesity campaigns through the health portfolio.
    He was commenting on a meeting yesterday of state health ministers which considered a proposal for a ban on television junk food ads before 8.30pm.

    But Mr Abbott ended the debate by tabling a letter from Prime Minister John Howard declaring advertising regulation a federal responsibility.

    In the letter, Mr Howard said obesity was a problem for individuals and parents to address, rejecting a proposal from Queensland premier Peter Beattie for obesity to go on the agenda for the Council of Australian Government.

    Mr Beattie responded by admitting to a weight problem, saying: "I know the prime minister doesn't have a weight problem but I do and I know how hard this is.

    "You've got to create an environment to support people and I think this is just playing ostrich and it is wrong."

    Mr Abbott told ABC radio he was aware of the concerns of the state state health ministers whom he said go on "like broken records".

    "I just think that in the end it is important for government to give people the right messages and the right example but we shouldn't pretend that we can make this problem go away by banning something," he said.

    "We think childhood obesity is a very, very serious problem and that it needs a whole range of responses and that in the end government is not going to control what people put in their mouth."

    Mr Abbott also suggested that Mr Beattie was more easily influenced by junk food ads than was Mr Howard.

    "Certainly the PM has always maintained a rigorous exercise program and he has always been disciplined with his eating," he told ABC radio.

    "Premier Beattie to his great credit has slimmed down a lot over the last few years," he said.

    Mr Abbott said advertisers should behave responsibly and this was an issue being pursued with the industry by Communications Minister Helen Coonan.

    "I have have certainly had a number of discussions with the industry," he said.

    "I am very encouraged that industry is proposing to move from the back of the pack to the front of the pack information about the calorie content of food and to give people more meaningful information about what that food might do to their weight."
    Yes, the Howard government is dragging the chain on this issue
    It might work, but too draconian to be worth doing
    No, won't make any difference
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  • #2
    AFL, cricket and netball to fight childhood obesity

    Good to see the sports doing something even if the government is doing very little:

    1 August, 2006
    Australia?s leading sports unite to keep Australian children fit and healthy
    Australia's leading sports ? Netball Australia, Cricket Australia and the Australian Football League ? today announced they would join with Medibank Private to improve the health and wellbeing of Australian children.

    The Medibank Private 1Seven program, launched in Melbourne today as a joint initiative of the three peak sporting bodies, aims to promote healthy behaviour that will lead to reduced rates of overweight and obese children.

    The national health and wellbeing program for Australian girls and boys encourages at least one hour of moderate to vigorous participation exercise every day and seven serves of fruit and vegetables (two fruit and five vegetables). The basic message is to ?Move More, Eat Well?.

    Netball Australia, Cricket Australia and the Australian Football League, with the support of Medibank Private, will introduce the Medibank Private 1Seven program to schools over the course of 2006 and beyond. The program includes health related classroom curriculum and practical physical activities to develop key movement and motor skills. Innovative web-based resources will also be made available to teachers and parents via The program will create strong community awareness and links to existing introductory sports programs offered by the three sports, with the aim to establish sporting habits and healthy lifestyle values for children to keep them active throughout their lives.

    The program will engage 1Seven Ambassadors and include visits to schools by elite athletes from the three sports to re-enforce the 1Seven message. Sharelle McMahon, Mike Hussey, Karen Rolton and Robert Harvey were announced as ambassadors today.

    Medibank Private managing director, George Savvides, said the sponsorship was perfectly aligned with Medibank?s philosophy of investing in preventative health care.

    ?Childhood obesity is costing Australia $830 million a year in health costs. For Medibank, this initiative will not only improve the health of our nation?s children ? a commendable initiative in its own right ? but will also tackle preventable health care among our children and future adults.?

    Netball Australia Acting CEO Jon Bisset said Netball Australia is proud to be involved in this innovative program that aims to educate young Australians and their family on the importance of establishing a healthy lifestyle.

    ?This program focuses on the benefit of participating in regular physical activities such as Netball?s Fun Net and Netta, Cricket?s MILO Have-A-Go and NAB AFL Auskick programs, while also incorporating healthy eating habits.

    ?This program not only educates school children but also assists schools in providing resources and ambassadors to help drive the message and ensure this program is a success.

    ?Children are our future and we need to arm them with the tools to be given every opportunity to succeed in life,? Mr Bisset said.

    Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland anticipates the program will steer children to ?move more and eat well? now and in the future.

    ?Ensuring young Australian children understand and then participate in healthy lifestyle choices is a priority for the community and Cricket Australia is pleased to join with the AFL and Netball Australia to deliver the program through the school network.

    ?With the program now on offer we are encouraging all Australian schools to register on the 1Seven website, join the program and help play their part in spreading this important community message,? Mr Sutherland said.

    AFL Chief Executive Andrew Demetriou said netball, cricket and football had been working to combine their resources for several years, to improve the health of Australian children.

    "The Medibank Private 1Seven program is a commitment by our sports to use our extensive networks in the community to change the quality of life for Australian children," Mr Demetriou said.

    "It is vitally important that our children are active in some form, and each of our sports are leaders in physical activity and skills-based programs for children that are fun, safe and enjoyable," he said.

    The Medibank Private 1Seven program will immediately seek school-based participants for its curriculum program, before unveiling its full range of classroom support later this year.
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