Greetings astute traveller, this website now exists for historical reasons.

Much has been learned since 2006. I urge you to keep exploring the evolution of information through other websites.

Summary of trends in obesity-related behaviours in NSW and Australia

trends_in_obesity_nsw_australia_small

The NSW Centre for Public Health Nutrition have released a report outlining the recent rends in obesity related behaviors.  It clearly shows that children’s intake of high-sugar foods and drinks have risen sharply.

What is particularly interesting is that the consumption of high-sugar foods and drinks has risen substantially for children, and not for adults.

So what could cause an increase for children, and not for adults? Well to me the answer is dreadfully clear; marketing.

The article supports this assertion;

“Similarly, advertising pressures, access to appropriate food choices, school food policies, nutrition information and labelling all potentially influence food selection.

In Australian society today there is also a large commercial drive to promote products that contribute to obesogenic behaviours (food is the most advertised product on television). The economic imperative (ie profits) behind these promotions creates a challenge…”

Remember this every time you go shopping;  Food corporations do NOT care about you or your children’s health.  They exist for one reason only; to make money.

Full Report is here: NSW Centre for Public Health Nutrition

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Children’s television – Types of foods advertised

types_of_food_advertised_small A recent study by the NSW Centre for Overweight & Obesity has revealed an alarming trend in their comparison of children’s viewing hours versus non-children’s viewing hours.

<< Click on the image (left) to see a detailed view.

Here are more disturbing facts from the report;

  • The frequency of advertisements for sugared drinks was more than twice as high during children’s viewing hours compared with non-children’s viewing hours.
  • The viewing period with the highest proportion of food advertisements for high fat/high sugar foods was during weekend children’s viewing times. During this time, high fat/high sugar advertisements comprised 52.7% of all food advertisements.

Food corporations are profiting at the expense of children’s health.  And the government guidelines for regulation clearly lack efficacy. But we can fight back by hurting unscrupulous food corporations where it hurts most; their net profit.  Every time we choose a healthy product over a non-healthy product – we take the power back.

Sources: The NSW Centre for Overweight and Obesity

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Genetics – what seperates endurance athletes from sprinters

genetics_what_seperates_endurance_athletes_sprinters According to Professor Kathryn North from the University of Sydney, a gene variation commonly found in endurance athletes most likely evolved as humans moved out of warm, food-rich environments to colder and harsher conditions, new research shows.

The variant form of the gene ACTN3, commonly found in endurance athletes, is also associated with more efficient muscle metabolism. Authors conclude that ACTN3, the original “sprinters” gene, has evolved over millions of years to equip humans to cope with changing and more hostile environments.

“There is a fascinating link between factors that influence survival in ancient humans and the factors that contribute to athletic abilities in modern man,” said Professor North.

Her discovery was that variations of the gene provided an important guide to whether an elite athlete has ability to be a power sprinter or an endurance performer.

In its most common variation, which accounts for about 80% of the Australian population, ACTN3 encodes for a protein called alpha-actinin-3. This is the protein which is found only in fast-twitch muscle fibres and is responsible for the explosive bursts of power necessary for successful sprinters or track cyclists. Among elite power athletes the alpha-actinin-3 protein is nearly always present.

Those with the variant form of the gene, about 20 per cent of the population, do not make the alpha-actinin-3 protein. Among elite endurance athletes – marathon runners and rowers – the variant form of the gene is more common.

Researchers developed a strain of mice that were completely deficient in alpha-actinin-3. They found the muscle metabolism of the mice without the actinin protein was more efficient: the mice were able to run, on average, 33 per cent further before reaching exhaustion than mice with the normal ACTN3 gene.

To answer the question as to why the variation occurred they looked at DNA samples from 96 individuals from around the world.

“Most Africans have alpha-actinin-3, it’s the normal ancestral state. But as you move into European and Asian populations there is a marked increase in the number of people without the protein. In some Asian populations that number reaches 40 per cent, or even higher in some isolated populations,” she said.

She believes the switch to more efficient metabolism is likely to have occurred due to natural selection during the last Ice Age, when humans began moving out of the food-rich areas of Africa into colder, harsher environments.

Source: University of Sydney

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Junk food dressed as breakfast cereals

Not long after writing my previous post about food labelling andlow-fat Vs high-sugar food, comes this article;

“Health experts have joined forces to lobby political parties on childhood obesity in the lead-up to the federal election.

VicHealth, the Cancer Council, and Diabetes Victoria have launched the Obesity Policy Coalition.

Its election agenda includes calls for a GST on high-sugar breakfast cereals, an overhaul of food labelling laws, and a ban on the marketing of unhealthy food to children.

Spokeswoman Jane Martin says they want to see a “traffic light” labelling system on all foods that shows green, orange or red symbols to indicate the levels of sugar, salt and saturated fat.

“Often products which are say 98 per cent fat free – which might be seen on confectionery – are very high in sugar, so we think it’s useful for people to see the whole story about the key nutrients,” she said.

“What consumers want to know about is fat, salt and sugar, often things that aren’t highlighted on the front of packs, particularly if they’re in high levels.”

The group is also calling for a mandatory “traffic light” colour coding system in place on food packages in Australia.

Red labels on a package would indicate a high level of fat, salt or sugar, yellow would indicate medium levels and green labels would be for low levels.  A similar system is being trialled by some supermarkets and manufacturers in Britain.

Ms Martin said the colour code system would make it easy for people to put the fat, sugar and salt in a food into context.

“We want to see a mandatory simple scheme that consumers understand that outlines the key elements of products including sugar, salt and fat,” she said.

“It gives them a better understanding of what’s in the food. If it’s 90 per cent fat free they will know it’s high in sugar. And that’s the kind of information that’s currently missing.”

But a spokeswoman for Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott said the Government did not have any plans to impose new taxes.

The head of Diabetes Australia (Victoria), Greg Johnson, said thousands of Australian children were growing fat on “junk food dressed up as breakfast cereals”.

Sources: www.abc.net.au – canberra.yourguide.com.au – www.theage.com.au

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