The obesity conference

October 22nd, 2012 at 12:48 pm by David Farrar

Marika Hill at Stuff reports:

University of Auckland associate professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu said consumers were often left baffled by food labelling and struggled to make informed health choices.

Relying on people to exercise self control was not working, she added.

“We’ve failed because our focus is on the individual to make healthy choices.”

Yeah if people make bad choices, we must do something about it. Or not.

She called for a large-scale trial of either traffic lights or a star-rating food system, which would rate food based on health factors.

Star-rating labels in parts of the United State saw a significant increase in people buying healthy food, she said.

As a general rule transparency is a good thing. When I purchase food now, I religiously read the nutritional information box.

However things are not always simple. For example alcohol does not have these boxes. The reason, as I understand it, is because on most of the measures listed such as fats it comes up really well, so people may think alcohol is healthier than it really is.

There may be a halfway measure where the calorie count only is included on alcohol. I noticed in Australia that shops serving  fresh food tend to include the calorie count with the food. Not sure if this is required or voluntary, but I for one found it useful being able to compare the calorie counts of say different pastas as the airport.

The controversial fat-tax was also debated at the conference.

Professor Wayne Cutfield, director of the Liggins Institute in Auckland, said the world’s first fat and sugar tax failed to make its mark in Denmark.

In January, the Danish Government introduced higher taxes on beer, wine, chocolate, candy, sodas and cream.

However, the Government was now reviewing the fat-tax following an outcry over manufacturing job losses and shoppers buying bad food across the country’s borders.

I’m not surprised. Just as banning school tuckshops from selling certain foods just drove kids across the street. Them the health police want to ban certain foods from 500 metres of a school. Eventually they’ll propose a Government set menu for the entire country.

Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich said the obesity epidemic was a complex issue that could not be solved by over-simplified food labels or slapping a tax on unhealthy food.

“There has to be common sense about these issues.

“You can’t pass laws to make people eat healthy.”

And unhealthy food often costs more than healthy food. It is about education and responsible parenting and self-control.

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33 Responses to “The obesity conference”

  1. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    The obesity pandemic is a scam produced by epidemiologists, the diet industry, and animal rights lobbyists and is part of the greater food wars that has been raging for over 60 years – meat versus veges, spurious food pyramids,invented by the American grain industry, the demonisation of fat and sugar despite humans living so much longer because of good nutrition in modern times.

    This and other so called noninfectious disease epidemics have created a massive feeding trough from the UN right down into al counties,and will be sure to continually push for government bans and hyper nanny state,policies because they will want to keep their fat salaries and we can’t have fatties walking around.

    There will be punitive taxes and draconian many state legislation because government as seem powerless to say no to these scammers.

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  2. Andrei (2,428 comments) says:

    What a bunch of dreary people – who want to impose their dreariness on everybody else and are paid by the Government to do this.

    The Government goes along because they can use this as an excuse to grow and to tax people.

    The anti smoking zealots provided the prototype which will be applied to everything else the bores want to tell us is bad for us.

    Personally I’d round them all up and put them on an Island where they can create their own tofu eating paradise and leave them to it.

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  3. bringbackdemocracy (350 comments) says:

    Why is there so much obesity amongst beneficiaries?
    Overpaid and underwalked maybe?

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  4. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    … because on most of the measures listed such as fats it comes up really well…

    And that there is the obesity problem summed up nicely. People are so poorly educated about nutrition that fat is automatically assumed to be bad. Fat is a much more preferably source of calories that high fructose corn syrup. Try sugar free living and you’ll soon realise that over half of what’s in the supermarket isn’t even food.

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  5. JeffW (303 comments) says:

    Part of the issue, of course, is that the obese are subsidised by the public health system.

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  6. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    I’m not surprised. Just as banning school tuckshops from selling certain foods just drove kids across the street.

    In fact, if you talked to those at the coalface (ie teachers) in the schools that made the shift to healthier foods, you would find wide agreement on the benefits of eliminating junk food. Quieter classes, more learning.

    Bugger, eh?

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  7. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    Fat bastards are fat because they are too lazy to control what they eat and exercise – it’s really simple

    Do I buy fish and chips or make pasta at home ? – righto ‘ I’m a lazy fat bastard so I will buy my meal because I am too lazy to cook –

    also generally I’m not that financial because I am a lazy bastard but never mind some university wanker will make all the excuses in the world and force costs onto business because of me. Life’s grand!!!!!!!

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  8. Andrei (2,428 comments) says:

    In fact, if you talked to those at the coalface (ie teachers) in the schools that made the shift to healthier foods, you would find wide agreement on the benefits of eliminating junk food. Quieter classes, more learning.

    Yes Luke, if your body doesn’t take on enough fuel you become listless and subdued. That’s why authoritarians use like to control food, control food and people are much easier to control.

    You are slow, Luke very very slow.

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  9. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    University of Auckland associate professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu said consumers were often left baffled by food labelling and struggled to make informed health choices. Relying on people to exercise self control was not working, she added. “We’ve failed because our focus is on the individual to make healthy choices.””

    It is just staggering that we have such mindless oafs as Cliona in our universities and actually posturing as teachers.

    This communist apparatchik should not be within a light year of any academic institution and should be kept as far away from our youth as humanly possible.

    The University of Auckland is the problem, not the solution. On this imagined/ manufactured crisis or anything.

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  10. wreck1080 (3,522 comments) says:

    Actually, i think fastfood is often cheaper than buying truly healthy food.

    Good quality steak costs over $40/kg now. Lean mince is up there too.

    The other day, bought 2 pizzahut pizzas + chips/garlic bread for $16… there were left overs after feeding 5 of us. Very cheap.

    Good quality healthy food is actually pretty expensive.

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  11. DJP6-25 (1,228 comments) says:

    It’s not about concern for the obese. It’s about power.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  12. gump (1,228 comments) says:

    Alcoholic beverages don’t list nutritional information because the industry lobbied the Government for an exemption from the mandatory labeling requirements of the food standards regulations. It’s the same reason why they don’t have to list the ingredients used to manufacture the beverages either (whereas non-alcoholic beverages like soft-drinks and cordials are required to).

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  13. hmmokrightitis (1,458 comments) says:

    In fact, if you talk to teachers at the coalface, you will discover that those parents who give a shit to feed their kids properly – porridge for breakfast at cents per serve for example – are doing so, and will continue to do so, whilst others who cant be fucking arsed to do right by their kids blame everyone but themselves.

    See what I did their Luc? Its called “the truth”. I earn a healthy 6 figures. My kids all hoover porridge for breakfast, with fresh fruit and a little milk. All doing really well at school. Costs me fuck all, minutes to prepare, healthy as. Whats stopping others from the same?

    Its not about schools, its still, always has been, and always will be about parents. My kids know once a week they can have a treat lunch – a pie for example, which the school provides. Their teachers all tell me, nothing wrong with their behaviour after that.

    Maybe, just maybe, if our kids had better discipline, more active and loving, concerned and engaged parenting, their outcomes might be better? And spare me the they dont have the time or money bullshit. Its easy to feed kids well AND cheaply in this country.

    Not the school – parents.

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  14. Left Right and Centre (2,388 comments) says:

    Food labels on ‘healthy products’: Milo with the Heart Tick? Yeah right. That’s just WRONG!! It’s ok… as long as you use one grain in a cup of low fat milk… you’re having me on losers.

    ((If I ever do buy Milo again, it’ll be me, a fucking teaspoon…. and circa one hour of malty bingefest.))

    And some products are tick worthy, but they don’t bother. So the tick is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    Traffic light rating? That over simplifies it a bit eh? ((And no fucker in this country knows what a yellow light means… who are we kidding? They’d take that to mean eat it… as long as there’s no cops around.))

    We’re not going to pass laws saying you must eat five a day. That’s not likely to happen. You can’t save the great unwashed masses. They find reading extremely painful being semi-literate. They are doomed.

    I recall on one of the ’7pm sad stories’ some stupid retard sounding tart moronically comparing chippies to apples. ‘Chippies are sooo much cheaper!!’ No they’re bloody not dick… a kilo of apples costs around $3-4. Try buying a kilo of chippies for that you muppet. They start at around $10/ kilo for basic varieties. You see? That’s the kind of choice intellect that roams the plains unchecked by straight jackets or electric cattle prods.

    wreck1080: That’s not food mate!! And are you people hobbits? I could eat all of that shit on my own. I’m not going to though… I’m losing weight. Who pays $40/ kilo for meat? Or anything? Holy fuck!! Lean mince would be what… $14-20 kilo? Depending on where you shop? It’s not ‘up there too’ with $40… let’s not be silly. Anyway… they reckon too much of it is no good so I don’t worry if I can’t afford red meat. I’ve scarfed down two Dominoes pizzas in one hit before- not that it’s something to be proud of. And yeah, they were dirt cheap with a coupon. Mate, I don’t think PizzaHut are using the old $40/ kilo meat, know what I mean? It’s probably chopped up cow arse or something. The ‘ring cuts’… hehehehe

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  15. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    The best advice is to eat a good balanced diet including sugars, fats, and proteins and stop worrying about it. The evidence that any particular food is bad and others good is almost non-existent. Sugar is certainly not a poison. Most fast foods are nutritionally good, but like other foods you don’t want to eat too much of any one food.

    The only reason,people try to turn nutrition into rocket science is to make money out of it.

    Much of the hype directed against fast food is because they are easy targets for lawyers or because wankers try to make them out as symbols of American imperialism. Tossers.

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  16. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    I’ve noticed that some schools are using that scam film Supersize Me as an educational video:)

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  17. MT_Tinman (2,790 comments) says:

    They held an obesity conference without inviting us fat bastards?

    Shame!

    More scum demanding the right to tell others what to do.

    Fuck ‘em!

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  18. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    Well I’m a teacher and I completely disagree Luc. The idea that sugar causes hyperactivity in kids is an urban myth. Besides many of us can eat lots of junk food without getting obese or sick. Why should we all be penalised because some people have a slower metabolism and get less exercise? Banning junk food from schools is an excercise in futility as they’ll just get their sugar and pies somewhere else. There’s a steady stream of kids running to the dairy for lunch at my school. And so what? The only people they are potentially hurting are themselves and if they get too fat hopefully a parent will notice and intervene. That’s their responsibility, not the government’s.

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  19. wreck1080 (3,522 comments) says:

    Given that they will not tax high calorie foods or limit the spread of fast food, I wonder what obesity will peak at?

    In the US recently I observed an assumingly married couple wheeling around together on their mobility scooters. I’ve never seen so many mobility scooters in my life, and, most commonly they’d be hauling fat-asses around .

    US newsagents sell diabetes magazines along with all the trash mags.

    No doubt the government will dream up with all sorts of ridiculous motivational programmes to encourage people to exercise. But won’t work — engineered food tastes too good and is cheap and plentiful, while exercise is too hard and time consuming in todays increasingly busy week.

    The scientists will invent an exercise pill woohoo.

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  20. BeaB (1,944 comments) says:

    Pierre Trudeau famously said the state should keep out of people’s bedrooms. It needs to keep out of our kitchens too. So much rubbish is spouted about food like Luc Hansen’s anecdotal nonsense about school kids. No scientific basis at all.

    Our bodies don’t know or care whether we are eating expensive or cheap protein. A reasonably balanced diet is probably best but many do quite happily on some very odd diets like kids who won’t eat vegetables or refuse meat.

    I am sick of funding through my taxes the army of wowsers and nosey parkers who have built lucrative careers on bossing us round and telling us what to eat, drink, smoke etc. The next step is telling us what to think and speak and we are already well down that slippery slope.

    And with us oldies being such a financial burden on the country perhaps we should be encouraged to eat, drink and smoke ourselves to early graves!

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  21. hmmokrightitis (1,458 comments) says:

    rightandleft: Thank you. :)

    Luc: Oh noes!!!!1!!11 Foiled in your made up facty-ness, damn and blast!!

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  22. Peter (1,468 comments) says:

    Eat less. Exercise more.

    Everything else is hot air.

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  23. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    People like to give Redbaiter a hard time for his extreme views, but at least with Red, his comments often fit with observable reality.

    Unlike our extremist friend Luc !

    In order to believe a word he says, you have to suspend all sense of reality and common sense. He never has anything new to say and clearly has no independent thought. All he does is parrot the same old cultural marxist drivel.

    He is by far the most boring predictable contributor on KB. Come on Luc, drop the act and tell us how your really feel, for a change.

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  24. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    Trough Ground zero

    http://nihi.auckland.ac.nz/page/current-research/our-nutrition-and-physical-activity-research/breakfast-schools-biskit

    Multimillion dollar taxpayer funded study to see if breakfast is a useful meal.

    The conclusions will be

    Poor people need our help
    More government funding is needed
    More research is needed.

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  25. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Rightandleft (185) Says:
    October 22nd, 2012 at 5:07 pm
    Well I’m a teacher and I completely disagree Luc.

    You are what would be called in the trade an ‘outlier’.

    I suspect that no amount of testimonies contradicting your sincerely held beliefs would persuade you to change your mind.

    My sources begin with my sister and extend to many teachers and, and, even more importantly, back up the published recommendations of the professional organisations who supported the original ban.

    But of course, they are commie bastards.

    Right?

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  26. Longknives (4,039 comments) says:

    Marjory has all the answers…

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  27. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    No luc misguided. Sugar hyperactivity is a myth with no scientific evidence and,has been debunked by numerous skeptics groups.

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  28. hmmokrightitis (1,458 comments) says:

    Note to world. When you disagree with Luc, you are an outlier. His fact-less statements indicate huge learning and a base of knowledge, all based on scientific research that doesn’t need reference. Luc IS the reference.

    Catch up world. Luc is goodness, the way, the truth, the light.

    I suspect he poops rainbows too.

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  29. Christopher Thomson (374 comments) says:

    Heck, even Supernanny disproved the sugar rush bullshit.

    The only thing that affects obesity is eating more than your body uses.

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  30. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    The professional groups who wanted junk food banned from school weren’t worried about sugar rushes, they wanted to play the role of parent and protect all the poor kiddies from themselves by forcing them to eat nothing but healthy food. My position is that that isn’t their role to take. The food they eat has little effect on their classroom behaviour so it’s not my concern as a teacher. The teens I see eating the most junk are also the most sporty and active so they tend to burn off most of the calories anyway.

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  31. kowtow (6,685 comments) says:

    The attitude of academics and govt’s to this problem is frightening. We know,you don’t. More laws and taxes.That’s progressives for you.

    There is an obesity epidemic. The west has become fat and lazy.And will collapse under it’s own weight.

    Personal responsibility is a thing of the past.

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  32. Dave Stringer (182 comments) says:

    There was a day when a member of the family was responsible for the food that family ate. To prepare them for this responsibility, schools provided, as part of secondary education, classes in how to cook nutritious meals. Sadly, this was, about a genmeration ago, regarded as ‘sexist’ and so “domestic science’, which included budgetting and cooking, were dropped from the curiculum.

    The result: Don’t ask parents to provide “healthy” meals, they don’t know how.

    Try answering this simple question as if you were a product of today’s ‘enlightened’ approach to education. . . . . . . What Are The Five Food Groups?

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  33. chiz (1,090 comments) says:

    What Are The Five Food Groups?

    Hmmm. Alcohol, chocolate, salt, fat and something. Protein?

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