Some weeks it is really hard to know where to even begin. Just when you think that health policy and the actions of governments have reached their lowest, they out do themselves with even more stupidity. Seriously, I do not understand how this happens and whilst as a blogger it gives plenty of material, as a doctor I despair.
Let’s look at just a few of the corkers to have made headlines. We hear from governments continuously how we need to be more active. Millions of our own dollars are dedicated to running ads extolling us to exercise more. Specific campaigns telling us to limit the time children spend on screens are part of this. So you might think that children wanting to play outside would be encouraged.
Of course not. A local council in NSW has ordered a tree house be taken down, as it does not comply with the building code. Apparently, the children who made it did not apply for a council permit.
Are you kidding me? They need a council permit for children to make a tree house to play in. But the nanny state fun police have said it must go. It clearly would much rather the children be back inside on their play stations rather than being outside.
Still in NSW, the state government wants to ban butter and cream in school canteens as part of its approach to “childhood obesity”. There will also be a crackdown on Vegemite, which must be spread thinly. Welcome to the 1970’s!
Obviously, the nimrods that came up with this idea have totally missed the advancement of science, which show that full fat products are not a health issue. In fact, if they wanted to ban anything (and bans are not an approach I support) you would ban the bread, as refined carbohydrates are far more a problem than fats.
The Vegemite issue (and for the record I am not a big fan) would be the salt. Yet once again, it is becoming evident that everything we have been told about salt is wrong too. Too little salt is as bad and possibly worse than too much. There is even a suggestion that cutting back salt may be a contributor to obesity.
Fruit juice, despite being full of sugar is not on the hit list. Yet it is now not recommended for children till age one due to the amount of sugar. What magically changes at the age of one is not made clear.
Of course, we don’t ever want facts to enter into any of these ideologically driven directives.
Meanwhile Christine Cronau who lectures about low carb high fat type diets found herself banned from using a room at a university in Perth due to the actions of those who don’t want her opinions heard. I do not know much about Christine but the fact that efforts were made to stop her speaking is a great concern and makes me more interested to go along, now that a venue at a different University has been found.
Speaking of bans, Australia continues to defy worldwide trends to legalise E-cigarettes. Interestingly, after backing the TGA recommendation to maintain the ban a parliamentary inquiry has been set up. Joe Hilderbrand describes this ban, which makes it legal to buy cigarettes but illegal to buy a product (possibly 95%) less harmful, as the stupidest law. As an aside figures show rates of smoking have flat lined between 2013 and 2016 falling only 0.6% after falling 6.6% between 2001 and 2013. Plain packaging has clearly made no difference but countries with e-cigarettes are seeing continuing declines in rates of cigarette smoking.
The WHO for unknown reasons is also against E-cigarettes. This organization has managed to spend more on travel ($200 million) than on AIDS, Hepatitis, Malaria and TB combined. Clearly flying at the front of the plane makes a massive difference to the health of the world.
Exactly why we are seeing so many bad policy decisions is hard to know. It could be blind adherence to ideology and a refusal to accept that the world has moved on. It could be vested interests protecting turf. You will need to form your own conclusions.
But one thing is certain – when it comes to your health, be questioning of all you hear and read. Do not assume that “official” advice is correct or in your best interests.
Dr Joe Kosterich MBBS is an author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, who wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life. Dr Joe also gives practical, motivational health talks for the general public and organisations where he is known as “An independent doctor who talks about health”. His latest book “60 minutes to Better Health” is available on Amazon.