August, 2015

Can a citizen’s jury transform obesity policy?

, Aug 17, 2015

A recent announcement that VicHealth will run a citizen’s jury to look at solutions to obesity was not met with support from all in the health setting. Criticisms include questions around the influence of the final report. In this post Jerril Rechter, CEO of Vic Health explains that with rising rates of overweight and obesity, […]

The Health Wrap: The Vegemite news spread; On your bike (sans helmet); a chronic problem; funding medical research and teens’ troubling mental health.

, Aug 17, 2015

                  This week’s Health Wrap is compiled by my colleague Megan Howe, the Sax Institute’s Publications Manager. Enjoy the Wrap and tweet us via @medicalmedia or @meghowe68 if you have any ideas for future issues. By Megan Howe The Vegemite news spread The use and abuse of […]
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‘Drink Coke, Exercise More?’: where conflict of interest is a Real Thing

, Aug 14, 2015

The New York Times prompted much public health concern this week with a report in its Well section that Coca-Cola “is backing a new ‘science-based’ solution to the obesity crisis: to maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.” It said: “The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists […]
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A Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Taxes go Up!

, Aug 05, 2015

Reducing our society’s consumption of sugar is likely to lead to a range of health benefits, including a reduction in the current high rate of overweight/obesity and in related diseases such a diabetes.    The latest piece in the JournalWatch series by Dr Melissa Stoneham reviews a report on the first cost-effectiveness study of a ‘soft drink […]
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As we fiddle with GST rises to fund health, South Australia sees big ‘short-sighted’ cuts to public health

, Jul 20, 2015

As New South Wales and South Australia launch discussions on the merits of lifting the rate of the GST from 10 to 15 per cent “in order to pay for the increasing cost of healthcare”, they might want first to consider their health care priorities. Associate Professor Samantha Battams reveals below “a sad state of […]
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A year on, Australia’s health star food-rating system is showing cracks

, Jul 14, 2015

Mark Lawrence and Christina Pollard write: The government has started the second phase of its awareness campaign for Australia’s year-old health star food-rating system. The A$2.1 million campaign is aimed at educating grocery buyers about how to shop for healthy food and encouraging the food industry to adopt […]
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“We need to spend more on preventive health.” So let’s slash it….

, Jun 23, 2015

One of the “overarching concerns” raised by those who contributed suggestions to the Reform of the Federation Discussion Paper was “that there is insufficient funding directed to preventive health”. Meanwhile, a major obesity prevention initiative is about to get the chop. The Collaboration of Community-based Obesity Prevention Sites (CO-OPS Collaboration) – whose funding stops on […]
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Inawintji’s Story on Living Black tonight: “the high price to pay for staying well”

, Jun 16, 2015

Access to healthy and affordable food and good health care is a big issue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly those living in remote communities. The recent National Rural Health Conference in Darwin has called for a Senate Inquiry into food security for remote communities, while the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjar (NPY) Women’s […]
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The Health Wrap: Indigenous incarceration disgrace, let’s talk about smoking, Budget fairness test, all things Evidence

, Jun 09, 2015

  By Kellie Bisset The disgrace of Indigenous incarceration rates Following the successful crowdfunding of Croakey’s #JustJustice campaign, it’s timely to reflect on the release of the Amnesty International Report  A brighter tomorrow: keeping Indigenous kids in the community and out of detention in Australia. The report found that Indigenous youth incarceration is at its highest level in 20 […]
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Freedom of Tweets – A social media advocacy campaign to unlock the secrets of nutrition governance

, May 21, 2015

Social media is opening up the processes of public health advocacy and efforts to hold governments to account, according to Dr Mark Lock, a Research Fellow in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle. As part of the Aboriginal Voice Integration and Diffusion or AVID Study, Dr Lock is examining […]
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Will we add more years to our lives? The flawed longevity assumption

, May 08, 2015

Treasurer Joe Hockey copped quite a lampooning when he raised the prospect of  people living until they are 150 to explain why Australians should accept cuts to government benefits and pay a greater share of their health costs. But Dr George Crisp says we all are too happy to accept the idea that longevity still […]
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Using a systems approach to tackle obesity: insights from the UK

, May 08, 2015

This is the first of a series of articles covering the CEIPS Seminar Series, monthly seminars that showcase systems approaches and complex public health interventions. This article originally appeared on the CEIPS blog and has been reproduced here with permission. It is written by Rebecca Zosel, public health practitioner, advocate and consultant, who tweets from […]
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#Budget2015 prescription to cut health costs: invest in prevention

, May 07, 2015

There’s little doubt that “spiralling health costs” will get plenty of Budget Bingo hits when Treasurer Joe Hockey delivers the 2014-15 Budget next Tuesday, 12 May. Here then is a very timely article from Mary Barry, CEO National Heart Foundation, in response to the Productivity Commission’s recent research report on Efficiency in Health. She notes […]
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Journal Watch: Fighting the good fight over fast food – but still losing. Time to change tactics?

, May 05, 2015

If it’s easier to influence land-use policies on the grounds of aesthetics or reducing litter and traffic than on whether fast food restaurants should be located close to hospitals or schools, do public health advocates have to rethink their tactics? That’s the question arising out of this latest instalment of Journal Watch from Dr Melissa […]
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Seeing stars: time to cut through the breakfast ‘cereal spin’, plus the launch of #ChoosingWisely

, Apr 29, 2015

Today saw the launch of the #ChoosingWisely campaign in Australia which aims to encourage conversations between health professionals and patients about tests, treatments and procedures that may provide little or no value, and which may cause harm. See the series of Croakey posts on the initiative, some tweets from the launch at the bottom of […]

Vending machines – exercising your choice?

, Apr 06, 2015

Many thanks to Dr Melissa Stoneham and the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia for this latest instalment of Journal Watch. *** Melissa Stoneham writes: Vending machines – they are certainly versatile. You can get almost anything in them today. In Perth and Adelaide right now, 4 hot chip vending machines are being trialled. In […]
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2015 #ClosetheGap: focus on remote communities, funding cuts, & improving the Indigenous ‘Heart Health Story’

, Mar 19, 2015

*Post updated with new statement from Close the Gap campaign Close The Gap Campaign Co-Chairs Kirstie Parker and Mick Gooda have called on the West Australian and Federal government to properly assess the health and wellbeing impacts of closing remote communities in WA, saying decisions that are being made without consultation are “premature and damaging”. […]
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Trading health? The role of health in foreign policy

, Mar 03, 2015

In contrast to the widespread criticism of Australia’s response to the West African Ebola outbreak, our lack of action in combatting the chronic illnesses in developing countries receives little or no attention. In the following piece, Samantha Battams, Program Director of Public Health at Torrens University, discusses the role of health in foreign policy and […]

Aid cuts thwart action on NCDs

, Feb 18, 2015

Many thanks to DevPolicyBlog and Sam Byfield for allowing us to republish this update on Australia’s role in the global response to Non-Communicable Diseases. Sam Byfield is a global health consultant, an Associate of the Nossal Institute for Global Health, and is completing a Masters in International Law at the University of Melbourne. Sam writes: […]

Exercise for older Australians: Could outdoor gyms be the answer?

, Feb 16, 2015

Many thanks to Dr Melissa Stoneham and the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia for this latest instalment of Journal Watch. Dr Stoneham writes: My mum is a healthy 82 year old. She has eaten well all her life, had regular check-ups with her medical practitioners and although she wasn’t regularly active, rearing seven kids […]