Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Kids to be measured in obesity survey

Thousands of Australian children will reportedly be measured, weighed and interviewed as part of an obesity epidemic-busting plan to be announced by the federal government.

Fairfax newspapers report existing government programs promoting after-school sports and physical activity could be expanded as part of the scheme.

Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott, Communications Minister Helen Coonan and Education Minister Julie Bishop are launching a package of anti-obesity measures, including a $3 million national nutrition survey.

A spokesman for the prime minister's office said a proposal to cut rising obesity levels, put forward by Tasmanian Liberal senator Guy Barnett, was now being examined, The Age newspaper said.

The national nutrition survey will be the most comprehensive stock-taking in more than 10 years
(the last one was in 1995) of what Australian kids eat and their levels of physical activity, the government says.

Four thousand children aged between two and 16 will be measured and interviewed next year, and the survey results used to formulate policies to fight obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes, The Age said.

I personally don't know what information they expect to get from 2 year olds but maybe they are worried about vitamin and mineral levels, plasma blood sugar and folate supplementation as well.

If they want to get rid of childhood obesity (which would hopefully follow on to adult fitness as well) then as far as I can see, it can be done in 8 easy steps.

If both Government legislation and parents contribute to this epidemic it would be quite easy.

1- Remove ALL vending machines from schools and shopping centres.
2- Make sporting activities MANDATORY for all children between 5 and 17. 1 hour per week (including dressing and showering etc) at school is not enough. It should be government policy (enforcable by fines) that all kids participate in a weekly sporting activity.
3- No "junk food" advertisments for or by fast food vendors until after 8pm.
4- A ban on "junk food" sponsorship for sporting events (at any level).
5- MASSIVE taxes on takeaway type foods that will undoubtedly get passed on to the consumer.

1- Prepare more meals (including school lunches) at home.
2- Eat more at home. The more you "eat out", the more ingredients you don't know what you are eating.
3- Follow the "Zone pyramid" (or similar) as best as you can.

Draconian? Maybe. Effective? Definitely.


Update: This article in the Age goes on to say that the survey will be ongoing, so once children have been measured other groups such as adults will be targeted.

International Diabetes Institute CEO Paul Zimmet said the nutrition survey would be "a very important study … It would have been nice if it had been done five or 10 years ago, because now we have to wait for the results to see what action might come."

There had been a study on children that began about 15 years ago, Professor Zimmet said, but at that time "they didn't have good measures for, say, the risk of diabetes and heart disease … in terms of diabetes outcomes it didn't even do blood sugars."



R2K said...

I like the water base!

Steve said...

Hi Alex, me too. I mention the Zone pyramid here as well.

But like I said, there is no mention of supplements, exercise or sunlight.

If anyone knows of a better "pyramid" than the one mentioned, please let me know by e-mailing me at


helen said...

The problem is that they already know what is causing these problems - sugar, flour, white rice, transfats, sugary fruits,all proccessed foods, in short what the majority of kids eat - even the skinny ones. Yet they still go on saying the low fat almost vegetarian diet is the optimal one discounting all proof that it isn't so. How many more people have to die of these man made diseases like obesity, heart disease, cancer & diabetes 2 before they wake up? The answers have always been there, ask any of the low carb /paleo diet advocates. The only thing wrong with the zone pyramid in my opinion is that the majority of our diet should be animal products ( meat & their fats ) then vegetables & absolutely none of the grains or sugar producing products - we really don't need them no matter what all the advertising gurus want us to believe to sell their products.

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