Articles on Public health

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Boarded up: how companies are trumping our health. Eschipul

Beware, secret trade deals can seriously damage your health

If I asked you to name some of the current threats to your health, “international trade law” probably wouldn’t be on the tip of your tongue. Yet trade agreements, and the way we negotiate them, can affect…
There’s evidence that people in the highest socioeconomic groups are given priority for both urgent and non-urgent procedures in NSW public hospitals. Ralf Heß/Flickr

Being poor in NSW means a longer wait to get into hospital

Australia’s public health system is ostensibly based on the notion of equity of access. But research recently published by my colleagues and I shows this is not the case in New South Wales public hospitals…
Unnecessary anxiety is a media health risk. Vincent Yu/AP/PA

Health experts with pharma links more likely to talk up risk

When new health threats emerge, the media is often accused of hyping up the risk to the public. But we tend to believe that health experts provide rational, independent viewpoints on the real risks posed…
A 20% tax on sugar drinks could change the habits of young Australians, which would benefit future generations. Shutterstock / Creativa

Sugary drinks tax could swell coffers, shrink waistlines

A study published in the journal of the British Medical Association, BMJ, today says a tax on sugary drinks could cut the…
Fructose is associated with US obesity rise but Europe allows health claims. Macz_out

EU Fructose ruling means dodgy health claims are easier to make

An EU decision to allow health claims to be made about fructose has angered obesity experts who blame the fruit sugar for rising obesity levels in the US. The decision allows food and drink manufacturers…
The writing was on the wall for some in city licensing review. Andy Bell

Police attitude to sex saunas is wrong, bizarre and dangerous

Scottish police were forced to issue a statement that they did “not advocate the banning of condoms” after a BBC report, which ran under the headline “Police ask for condom ban in Edinburgh saunas”, said…
Revolving door means you can advise government then advise industry. Zeeweez

Recruiting government advisers to alcohol lobby is too easy

The appointment of senior civil servant David Frost as Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, one of the alcohol industry’s most aggressive lobby groups, is just the latest high profile case…
Consumption of fruits and vegetables can be expected to fall if their price goes up. shaun/Flickr

Taxing fresh foods could have a big, bad health impact

A simmering discussion about Australia’s goods and services tax (GST) flared up again straight after the election, with WA Premier Colin Barnett arguing for an increase in the GST rate and a broadening…
Tobacco use causes more than five million deaths every year across the world. MilitaryHealth/Flickr

Medical journals refuse to publish tobacco-funded research

Editors of journals published by the BMJ Group will no longer consider publishing research that is partly or wholly funded…
Poster girl Beth Ditto. Dan Taylor

Fat activists on the offensive in war on obesity

Obesity is commonly regarded as one of the most significant threats to health in the developed world. It is strongly linked with cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and impaired mobility. Governments…
Dung beetles love the Milky Way because they use it for navigation. No, seriously they do. mattvisser

Ig Nobels 2013: from attaching penises to stargazing beetles

This year’s Ig Nobel prizes were awarded on September 12 at a meeting of nerds at Harvard University. The prizes are given for genuine scientific research that “first makes people laugh and then makes…
Mind the gap: health services in trouble if we continue to expect too much. PA/Carl Court

Developed world can’t have it all or health will hit the buffers

Health services are under constant scrutiny and rarely out of the news. But discussions about how and even whether they can continue are likely to exercise the whole developed world in the near future…
The recent tobacco tax rise showed the usual entrenched positions of public health advocates and libertarians. Nick|Allen/Flickr

Slurs aside, let’s talk about the ethics of public health measures

Predictable positions followed the recent announcement of an increase in tobacco tax by 12.5% a year for four years. Public health advocates praised the tax, labelling those questioning it as “tobacco…
If you treat smoking as a purely personal choice you’re not giving enough weight to the impact of dying young. stolenscript/Flickr

Fuming with outrage: Nazis, nannies and smoking

A few years ago I saw a poster stuck to the wall of a train station in Copenhagen. The poster was a protest paid for by a prominent Danish musician against new regulations against smoking in public. At…
The increase in medical graduates means there’s not enough internships to allow them to practice. So who is given priority and why? Doctor image from www.shutterstock.com

FactCheck: are international medical graduates given priority over Australian doctors?

“At the moment, we’ve got international graduates who are getting preference over Australian doctors in some states.” - Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton, National Press Club Address…
Plain packaging isn’t really plain - it has warnings not branding. PA/Niall Carson

Industry trumps evidence in tobacco packaging U-turn

The government’s disappointing U-turn over plain packaging of tobacco has dealt a blow to campaigners and shows a government attempting to subvert its own consultation process. The Conservative party’s…

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