The Health News – 1 March 2016

Overview:
• Australians are not willing to “stick their heads out” to advocate against soft drink consumption compared to groups in the United States, nutrition professor Marion Nestle says

• Mount Isa’s Lead Health Management Committee has started devising a new strategic plan to include ways of minimising health risks associated with airborne contaminants other than lead. It follows a Queensland Government decision last year to widen the scope of the committee to include cadmium, arsenic and sulphur dioxide.

• Actor Samuel Johnson is quitting acting so he can devote his time to raising $10 million for cancer research, he has announced in a long and emotional Facebook post that attacks funding cuts to research in Australia.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 1st of March 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-29/soft-drinks-filled-with-politics-professor-says/7164926

Australians are not willing to “stick their heads out” to advocate against soft drink consumption compared to groups in the United States, nutrition professor Marion Nestle says.

In an effort to fight the obesity epidemic, Professor Nestle said health groups in the US lobbied the government there to change policies around junk food and soft drink advertising.

This was only happening on a small scale in Australia, she said.

Professor Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, is in her last two weeks of a sabbatical with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.

[Today] she will deliver a lecture about the politics of the food industry in the US.

She [stated that]… while Australians were “extremely interested in fitness”, they were less willing to push the Government for changes to the junk food industry.

… she believed the first step in changing the food environment in Australia was to put rules on what junk food and soft drink companies could do, such as stopping advertising to children.

[The] Professor … is in the research phase for her next book — looking at the food industry’s sponsorship of diet and health, and how beverage companies use “every other trick in the tobacco industry’s playbook” to distort the science related to soft drink consumption.

“[Soft drink companies] fund the industry that gives them the answers they are looking for, and work behind the scenes to lobby community groups,” she said.

“The tobacco industry was famous for that and the soft drinks industry are doing the same thing.”

Last year, the New York Times revealed Coca-Cola was funding scientists to shift the blame for obesity away from bad diets and sugary drinks.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-29/new-health-plan-to-address-mount-isa-airborne-contaminants/7207132

Mount Isa’s Lead Health Management Committee has started devising a new strategic plan to include ways of minimising health risks associated with airborne contaminants other than lead.

It follows a Queensland Government decision last year to widen the scope of the committee to include cadmium, arsenic and sulphur dioxide.

Committee chairwoman and Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the new strategic plan would be reviewed at the next committee meeting in six months.

“We’ll be looking at what strategies could be used here in Mount Isa for those other airborne heavy metals and sulphur dioxides,” she said.

“So what are the things that we could recommend that the hospital and health service does?

“What are the things that they can do to assist and work with their community?

“So we’re going to put together a whole lot of ideas and then we’ll discuss them at our next meeting, which is planned for six months’ time.

“So we want to think about what are the strategic issues, what can be done to develop a new strategic plan with that broader terms of reference.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-26/samuel-johnson-quits-acting-to-raise-money-for-cancer-research/7201806

Actor Samuel Johnson is quitting acting so he can devote his time to raising $10 million for cancer research, he has announced in a long and emotional Facebook post that attacks funding cuts to research in Australia.

Writing on his Love Your Sister page, Johnson said “I cannot play pretend on telly while our families are falling.”

“Cancer is the last true riddle of our time (not of our doing) and I wanna be part of the push to solve it once and for all — part of the new ‘moonshot’.”

Love Your Sister was established when his sister Connie was diagnosed with breast cancer, her third diagnosis since a bone tumour in her leg at age 11 and a tumour in her womb at age 22.

In 2013 Johnson, known for The Secret Life of Us and most recently playing Molly Meldrum on Channel 7, rode a pink unicycle around Australia to raise money for breast cancer research.

“We’re not going to get there if I’m off gallivanting. So I won’t,” he wrote.

“Not until we get to that $10M and show those faceless f***ers at the top end of town just how serious we are about research here at ground level.”

He said he gets majorly offended if the disease cuts down “mums before they can see their kids grow”, and children.

His announcement also attacks fundraising cuts to CSIRO, denial of climate science, alternative medicine, and conspiracy theorists who are “stupidly assuming that our scientists would dare allow big pharma to hide their discoveries.”

“I love acting, it’s the best job in the world,” he said.

“But the thing is, being a ‘vollie’ for healthy families kinda wins hands down. No contest. If it weren’t for Molly, I’d have done it sooner.”

He said his fundraising push has been joined by other high-profile Australians including comedian and musician Tim Minchin, athletes Nick Riewoldt and Danny Green, comedians including Tom Gleeson, Meshel Laurie and Shaun Micallef, and former Secret Life of Us co-star Deborah Mailman.

Johnson’s retirement will not be total — he said he will continue to do some voice-over work “so I can eat if that’s ok!”