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Obesity shame.



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Australian Medical Association Limited ABN 37 008 426 793

42 Macquarie Street, Barton ACT 2600: PO Box 6090, Kingston ACT 2604 Telephone: (02) 6270 5400 Facsimile (02) 6270 5499 Website : http://www.ama.com.au/

OBESITY SHAME

AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, has said the decision by the Federal Government to derail State Health Ministers’ talks about battling the obesity epidemic is shameful.

“I am very disappointed that the legitimate concerns of State Health Ministers around addressing the obesity catastrophe seem to have been stifled by the Prime Minister and Health Minister,” Dr Haikerwal said.

“While we understand the ‘mechanics’ of banning advertising is one for other Departments, Health must be central in the recognition of the need and means to address it.

“Health policy should be formulated by the Health Ministers and their Departments who have the expertise in determining indicators of health, and what public measures will make a significant difference to the health of the nation.

“Hardline measures have been taken against tobacco, alcohol, abuse, and drugs.

“The calamity just around the corner from obesity is just as significant an issue and must also be pursued with vigour,” Dr Haikerwal said.

“New figures showing the massive amount of junk food advertising viewed by children - with something like 1.5 million advertisements screened during school holidays - should be making the Government’s alarm bells ring.

“We know the junk food market, and advertising industry is extremely lucrative, but the true cost to the nation’s health and health care is too immense to ignore.

“The decision around banning and regulating junk food, and junk food advertising presents too great a conflict of interest for advertisers and the junk food industry.

“That’s why Health officials and health experts must play a role in guiding the debate and decision.

“We urge the Prime Minister and Federal Health Minister to get behind measures to battle obesity, rather than smother this much-needed debate,” Dr Haikerwal said.

Friday 28 July 2006

CONTACT: John Flannery 02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761