Fat tax

Remarkable: The Royal Society goes anti-sugar

The Royal Society is a scientific body.  To see it enter advocacy is a real problem to me.

New Zealand should look at making it mandatory for food labels to include the amount of added sugar, the Royal Society says.

The society, which represents top scholars and scientists, has just put out a fact sheet with the latest evidence about the sweetener’s health risks.

It said the issue was urgent, given a third of adults and 11 percent of children aged between two to 14 are obese.

Society president Richard Bedford said it was difficult for people to know how much sugar they were consuming.

“With a typical can of sugar-sweetened fizzy drink containing nine teaspoons of sugar, and sugar added to a wide range of food products in New Zealand … it is likely that many New Zealanders are exceeding World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines regularly, if not every day.”

89% of children are just fine.   And of the 11% remaining, all 11% are due to sugar?  Not fat?  Not lack of exercise?  Not shit parenting?   This problem – and it is one – is not solved by hitting 89% of the kids over the head for something they’re not doing in the first place, and placing compliance costs and other overheads onto industry when there is absolutely zero indication that it actually makes a practical difference.  Read more »

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Radio New Zealand avoids the obvious: Fat Bastards and diabetes go together

People living in the lower socio-economic South Auckland area are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes as those who live in the more affluent areas of Epsom, North Shore and central Auckland, a study has found.

The study conducted by the University of Auckland, and published today in the NZ Medical Journal, found that geography played a part in the distribution of diabetes.

The study leader Daniel Exeter from Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the university said there was an inequity in health outcomes across electorates and contributing factors include levels of deprivation and access to different types of food.

“Research has shown that areas of high deprivation have much more ready availability to convenience food.”

The study analysed data from 63,000 people diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes across the region in 2011 who were aged 30 years or over.

The highest rate of diabetes was 17.3 percent in Mangere and the lowest was 3.2 percent on the North Shore even after adjusting for age, gender and ethnicity. The prevalence of the condition in the Auckland region was close to the national average at 8.5 percent.

I’d like to coin a phrase for this.  Let’s call it the KFC Factor.   Read more »

Robyn Toomath throws in the towel and the toys out of the cot

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Will this set a chain reaction in motion?

Today we find out long time obesity activist Robyn Toomath from the Fight Obesity Epidemic has thrown in the towel, but not before first chucking her toys out of the cot.

Her comments are priceless.

“Clearly I’ve made no progress. There’s not a single thing that comes to mind other than the district health boards are going to provide a healthy food environment for their staff,” she said.

If there was only a “we” in that statement other obesity troughers could well be asked to seriously look at their positions as well and their achievements.   Read more »

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Hidden agenda behind fat taxes

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If there is one constant, it is the usual bleating from the Otago University’s Wellington Department of Troughers for more government regulation and taxes.

Take their regular moan in their Otago University Public Health Expert blog.

They’re so hot under the collar over Health Minister Jonathan Coleman rejecting their lobbying of seeing taxes introduced on products they don’t like, they’ll find any excuse to re-interview their own research.

This latest blog post from the troughers, including $11 million dollar woman Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, together with anti-tobacco experts Associate Professor Nick Wilson and Professor Tony Blakely, is yet another insight into their insular little world of academia.   Read more »

Karl du Fresne on the health troughers

Karl du Fresne isn’t enamoured with recent prognostications from the health troughers about how we need sugar, fat, and carbon taxes to prevent us all turning into a nation of Jabba the Huts.

New Zealanders are under siege, bombarded almost weekly with warnings that we’re killing ourselves, either by drinking too much, eating the wrong food or being too fond of sugar.

Last week a coterie of academics from Otago, Auckland and Oxford universities called for special taxes on fatty and salty foods and government subsidies on fruit and vegetables.

Luckily for them, they wouldn’t have to work out the nightmarish regulatory details such a proposal would entail, nor pay for the army of public servants that would be required to administer it. Not their problem.

A couple of weeks earlier, at a conference in Wellington, the head of preventive and social medicine at Otago University, who also happens to be a campaigner for stringent liquor controls, recited a slew of scary statistics linking alcohol consumption with cancer.

Professor Jennie Connor said that for women, cancer was the most common fatal consequence of drinking, accounting for 44 per cent of all alcohol-related deaths. In 2007, according to her figures, 243 cancer deaths were attributed to drinking.

And just to frighten people more, she said that about one-third of alcohol-related cancer deaths occurred among women who had fewer than two drinks a day.

In other words, forget all that reassuring stuff about drinking in moderation. There’s no “safe” level of consumption.

Now I admit I’m just a dumb layman, but loose phrases such as “attributed to drinking” and “related to drinking” arouse my journalist’s scepticism. They seem to fall short of a definitive statement that these women got cancer and died specifically as a result of drinking.

Besides, I wondered how doctors could be so sure that it was alcohol that caused these fatal cancers and not some other factor – or, more likely, combination of factors. How can they so confidently rule out genes, for example, or general diet and lifestyle?

And why don’t academic researchers also mention, just to prove they’re not ideologically biased, that many people drink in moderation throughout their lives and are still healthy in their 80s and 90s? That might present a slightly more balanced picture.

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Tough luck Fatties: You’re doomed

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The chances of an obese person achieving normal body weight are very low, a British study has found.

Losing five to 10 percent body weight is often recommended as a weight loss target. But researchers also found the chance of this being achieved was just one in 12 for men and one in 10 for women.

For those who did manage five percent weight loss, more than half (53 percent) regained it within two years and nearly four in five (78 percent) put it on again within five years. Read more »

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Health troughers not even hiding their dirty tactics

I warned food industry players two years ago that a war was coming and they were the targets of that war.

The health troughers, funded with millions of dollars of taxpayer funding, were going to target them and use brutal tactics like those used against the tobacco industry. Two years on I have been proved right and the attack is massive with calls now for fat, sugar and salt taxes and covering almost every primary food producer in New Zealand.

The health troughers aren’t even coy anymore about where they get their inspiration for their draconian efforts to control the New Zealand population.

Report co-author, Cliona Ni Mhurchu, said taxation would lead to behavioural change.

We know from previous research around tobacco, and a lot of the work that’s been done, that price is a really big lever in terms of driving behaviour change, and also there are an increasing number of studies coming out overseas, as well, that suggest that food pricing is important too.”

She said the proposed tax increase was affordable.

Except the health troughers forget that tobacco initiatives only ever affect consumers of the product…not every single person in the country. If people didn’t want to pay tobacco taxes then they simply stopped smoking.

Avoiding sugar, fat and salt taxes will be unavoidable for everyone, including those with bean-pole and half sucked throatie body types.    Read more »

$11 million researcher pimps tax increases

Both the Herald and Stuff are pimping the lines of Cliona Ni Mhurchu calling for 20% taxes on fat, salt, essentially all foods including dairy, meat and poultry.

Let’s take a look at this, particularly as Cliona Ni Mhurchu has tucked into more than $11 million dollars of funding for her research projects.

First there’s the usual academic charade of the study’s authors to make it sound more authoritative.

“A flat tax of 20 per cent on major dietary sources of saturated fat alone could prevent up to 1500 early deaths, the research – resulting from a joint study between Auckland, Otago and Oxford Universities – finds.

Here’s what happens. One academic comes up with an idea and drafts a report presenting their work. To make it more credible among fellow academics, they need to get more academic names attached to it. So the lead author pimps out the paper to known associates within the academic world who, in turn, are more than happy to put their names to it (and the universities they’re working at) thereby giving the effect that the research looks as though it’s backed by lots of academics/universities.

In turn these other academics then pimp out the paper as one of their own and as being ‘published’ and add it to their bios to puff themselves up even more full of self importance.

But back to this “new research”.    Read more »

Nanny state troughers want more bans, restrictions and taxes on what you eat

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This week we have seen a flurry of articles in MSM bleating on that the Government is not doing enough to counter the “obesity epidemic”.

The noise is due to Health Minister Jonathan Coleman kicking the idea of a sugar tax into touch. The troughers are outraged a key plank of their lobbying has been rejected by Government.

No surprises who is driving this.

It’s Trougher of the Year Professor Boyd Swinburn and his travelling side-kick Senior Research Fellow Stefanie Vandevijvere. Must be a funding round somewhere.

A lot of the noise is repeated in the anonymous Facebook/Twitter group called ‘Protect Our Kids NZ’. Coincidentally  this group repeats the exact lines that Boyd Swinburn and Stefanie Vandevijvere bleat on about, yet they don’t have the guts to put their names to it.

Chaos & Mayhem member Carrick Graham is never shy to enter battle with troughers, lobbying the question: what they have actually delivered for the more than $16 million they’ve received from the taxpayer? It’s a very good question.

He recently caught them out running a #DirtyPolitics campaign against him, me and former HPA board member Katherine Rich, through taxpayer funded group Agencies for Nutrition Action.

It’s a front group being run by the troughers – the very thing they accuse Big Business of doing. This one is called ‘Protect Our Kids NZ’.   Read more »

Fattism is a legitimate form of discrimination

James Delingpole gets stuck into fat bastards.

Breitbart London’s Executive Editor, James Delingpole, has appeared on the BBC Daily Politics to attack moves to award fat people minority status. He said that he hoped fat people would be “stigmatised” rather than government stepping in.

Delingpole claimed some of his greatest idols were fat, including Eric Pickles and Jabba The Hut but they were still a burden on the taxpayer.

CAUTION:  Video Auto Starts (we try to normally not do that, but… there you go)   Read more »