Feb 26, 2013

Posted by in Issue of the Day, Social comment | 0 Comments

Downsizing flagged for supersizers

Fatness is now rated by medicos as the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Queensland, Australia where I live. Me and the 4 million of my mates who live here in the Sunshine State clearly have too good a life since we have become the fattest state in the nation.

Some might laugh at that; some might give a wry grin but, frankly, we should be appalled. Medical, mental and medicine causes aside, fatness is almost always due to a lack of discipline. Those who willfully fail to exercise restraint in eating are pathetic.

Many will frown upon such forthright censure. I don’t care. The facts are now so disturbing that it is well beyond time to stop pussy-footing around. Let’s cut out the euphemisms and the kindly generosity that suggests we pretend those who are disfigured by their eating are still normal people. They are not.

Consider that, so bad has parenting become, we are crippling our future generations. Every parent who indulges their children with an excess of fast food, sugary drinks and lack of fruit and vegetables is guilty of child abuse. It is as simple as that.

Dealing with fat people is costing Australia around $21 billion a year according to the National Health and Medical Research Council.

That harsh reality means that of every 18 dollars our national government spends this year, one will be used to deal with the consequences of fatness. It’s a hell of a price to pay for a lack of discipline.

Consider how the bills are ballooning. We need new over-size ambulances that can carry loads of up to 500kg. They cost $350,000 apiece which is an extra third on the base price. Three have just been ordered in Queensland.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has had to redesign three of its aircraft to cater for patients up to 240kg. And they used to be able to carry people up to 180kg!

Even funeral parlours are being re-made to cater for the new dead who won’t fit into the refrigerated cabinets that our forebears used to. How far can this madness go?

Frighteningly, NHMRC predicts that in just another dozen years, 83 per cent of Aussie men and 75 % of our women will be overweight or obese.

Consider similar epidemics such as alcohol abuse, smoking and poor driving.

We have finally started to achieve meaningful quit smoking success by tackling the issue in very confrontational ways. Why? Because people were being ill-disciplined in their addiction/habit and they were costing the rest of us a fortune in medical costs. Sound familiar?

Alcohol abuse has been treated in a similar way albeit not quite so confrontationally. Again the rationale is that a lack of discipline by some is costing the rest of us small mountains of taxation revenue.

Similarly with motor vehicle accidents caused by drink-driving, not wearing seat belts and excessive speed.

Eating in a way that creates a burden for the rest of society should be admonished accordingly. But, first, we have to recognise that we are dealing with an epidemic and one that is almost entirely eradicable by individual choice.

The entrenched interests are vast – just think of the untold billions of dollars invested in fast food and its marketing each year. But the campaign against smoking was similarly ‘hopeless’ when it began and almost no-one believed the financial might of the tobacco companies could be broken.

 

Acknowledgement: Kelmeny Fraser, The Courier-Mail

 

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