The Health News – 27 August 2015

Overview:

• The NSW State Government is being urged to maintain sterilisation services in Forbes after concerns they could be moved to Parkes.

• The Australian Medical Association Queensland (AMAQ) says Queensland is on the brink of an influenza epidemic with thousands of cases diagnosed in August.

• Two studies published this year suggest a link between how often people go shopping and the healthiness of the food they buy. Evidence suggests large supermarkets prompts us to shop less often and buy more on each trip.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 27th August 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-26/forbes-fights-to-retain-sterilisation-services/6721430

The [NSW] State Government is being urged to maintain sterilisation services in Forbes after concerns they could be moved to Parkes.

The Mayor of Forbes Phyllis Miller says there is a possibility the town could lose the unit as part of hospital re-developments.

Mayor Miller said the strong uptake at the existing unit proved that sterilisation services should remain in Forbes.

“We draw people from Grenfell, West Wyalong, Condobolin, Eugowra,” mayor Miller said.

“The population drawing to Forbes is enormous and we have a lot of proceduralists here in Forbes so we’re that hoping common sense will prevail I suppose.”

The Western Local Health District (LHD) says it is working with staff to better understand the requirements for sterilising services in the two towns.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-26/queensland-on-brink-of-flu-epidemic-amaq-says/6723534

Queensland is on the brink of an influenza epidemic with thousands of cases diagnosed in August, the Australian Medical Association Queensland (AMAQ) says.

The latest Queensland Health figures show there have been more than 12,000 confirmed cases this year up until August 16.

Almost half of those were diagnosed between August 1 and 16 and 92 people were hospitalised.

The AMAQ’s Dr Wayne Herdy said this year’s flu season was shaping up to be the worst in decades.

“I think that we’re right at the very beginning of what’s shaping up to be a fairly significant influenza B epidemic,” he said.

“I’ve been on the Sunshine Coast for 23 years now and I’ve never seen as many flu cases come in in such a short time.”

Dr Herdy warned the official flu statistics were likely to be the tip of the iceberg.

“Only about one person in 10 who gets the flu gets a swab and ends up getting a positive diagnosis so the numbers are probably a lot higher than what we’re really seeing,” he said.

The Queensland Government has announced it will phone the parents of children who are not properly vaccinated to encourage them to get their shots.

Health Minister Cameron Dick wants to lift the vaccination rate for the state’s children from 92.3 per cent to 95 per cent.

He said the Government would begin calling the parents of 35,000 children under the age of five who did not have their vaccinations up to date from October 1.
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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-26/how-big-shops-are-making-you-fat/6725882

As you load up the car boot with shopping bags from your weekly trip to the supermarket, have you ever thought about how the particular supermarket you shop at might affect your health?

Two studies published this year suggest a link between how often people go shopping and the healthiness of the food they buy.

Large supermarkets are undoubtedly very convenient. They’re a one-stop shop with a huge variety of products on offer.

But evidence suggests their size prompts us to shop less often and buy more on each trip.

In Australia, we love our shops big. In fact, big shopping centres (Chadstone in Victoria is the biggest in the southern hemisphere), big supermarkets and warehouse-style shopping are ubiquitous in many Western countries.

While strip shops might be where we go for good cafés and boutique fashion, if we want hardware, a fridge or food, we want all the options, all in one place.

A recent study of eight similarly wealthy countries found only New Zealand and the United States had bigger supermarkets than Australia.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that those two countries also have a higher prevalence of obesity than Australia.

In fact, the research found an almost-perfect correlation between how big a country’s supermarkets were and the number of obese people in that country.

While there may well be other explanations for this association, the link between shopping less often and buying less healthy foods strongly suggests store size is indeed a big part of the problem.

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