Australian Health Groups Welcome Call for Large Cuts in Smoking and Drinking

by Gopalan on Oct 11 2008 11:08 AM

 Australian Health Groups Welcome Call for Large Cuts in Smoking and Drinking
A call by a task force set up by the federal government for large cuts in smoking, drinking and obesity rates, have received widespread support in Australia.
The Preventative Health Taskforce Friday called for a 9 per cent cut in daily smoking, a 30 per cent cut in harmful drinking and a reversal of obesity rates.

It said the objective was to make Australia the healthiest nation in the world.

The Heart Foundation's Maurice Swanson agrees that these strategies will work.

Australian Medical Association president Dr Rosanna Capolingua says only 2 per cent of the total health budget is focused on prevention and there needs to be new funding.

"If you're looking at nationwide campaigns around obesity, if you're looking at legislation around controlling junk food advertising, proper labelling of food - it's not there," she said.

"It wasn't there with the previous government and this government hasn't increased the funding.

"We've seen the talk, now let's see them walk the walk."

The preventative health taskforce’s first discussion paper outlines some strategies on reversing the effects of chronic illnesses caused by obesity, smoking and drinking.

The taskforce recommends battling obesity by shielding children from unhealthy food marketing and changing town planning to encourage a more active lifestyle.

For smoking, the paper calls on more regulation for the tobacco industry including an end to all forms of promotion, and a significant increase in the cost of cigarettes.

The taskforce also wants a restriction on the opening hours of alcohol outlets as well as a curb on alcohol advertising and to change the cultural place drinking has in Australia.

It also recommends a tailored approach to addressing health problems in Indigenous and disadvantaged communities.


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