Articles on Public health

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There’s a strong financial case to selling Medibank Private, but politics has made privatisation an unpopular choice. AAP/ Joel Carrett

Privatising Medibank: good business hamstrung by bad politics

At first sight it is surprising that neither the government nor the opposition, both seeking budgetary savings, is proposing to sell Medibank Private. When retiring Medibank Private chairman Paul McClintock…
A smart card system could help consumers keep track of their alcohol consumption – and help them drink less. Flickr/Mr Kael

Tap and go: smart cards could change the culture of booze

We all know that too much booze is bad for our health. Alcohol has been linked to 60 different medical conditions and almost 3,500 deaths a year in Australia, mostly from long-term alcohol abuse, accidents…
Many proposed measures for curbing obesity around the work are aimed at restricting the intake sugar from soft drinks. Robert Huffstutter

Another day, another anti-obesity campaign, but will this one work?

Merely two months into the new year and we have already seen a plethora of local and international efforts aimed at curbing what appears to be the inexorable rise of obesity. Some of these initiatives…
There’s a gap between what people with private health insurance think they’re paying for and what they’re getting. mvcaf/Flickr

Private health insurance and the illusion of choice

The number of people with health insurance plummeted in the 1990s, but almost half the Australian population now has private hospital insurance and over half have ancillary or extras cover. But our research…
Fluoridated water is the best drink option for children, but a new study has found many are consuming sugary drinks instead. Wouter van Doorn

Study supports calls for soft drink health warning

Soft drink health warnings should include advice on the risk of tooth decay, say researchers from the University of Adelaide…
No-smoking signs may actually prompt smokers to smoke. Mykl Roventine/Flickr

Anti-smoking signs may cause people to reach for cigarettes

In 1863, Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, “Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear – and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.” According to a recent experiment…
Many Australians are concerned about whether coal seam gas extraction will affect the quality of their water. Jeremy Buckingham MLC

Dealing with the health risks of unconventional gas

Community concerns over unconventional gas (shale and coal seam) mining in Australia are increasing. These concerns relate to water and air pollution, land usage, fugitive emissions and to inadequate assessment…
Urban environments are increasingly bombarding us with unhealthy food choices. John Walker

Rethinking how we live to stop the chronic diseases epidemic

We are in the midst of a global epidemic of chronic diseases – diabetes, heart disease, cancers and respiratory disease are on the rise across the world. Posing a real and increasing threat to health and…
It’s easy to claim “wind turbine syndrome” exists, but where’s the evidence? Snurb

There’s still no evidence that wind farms harm your health

Back in July I wrote an article for the The Conversation arguing that wind turbine syndrome was a classic “communicated” disease: it spreads by being talked about, and is therefore a strong candidate for…
Coal mining in NSW’s Hunter region co-exists with wine growing, racehorse breeding, dairy and other pastoral industries. Jo Schmaltz

Coal industry thriving, but at what social and health cost?

If you believe industry propaganda, coal mining is a panacea not only for economic ills but also for smoothing troubled social waters. But a lack of local evidence about the health impact of the coal industry…
Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg announcing job cuts in his department on September 7, 2012. AAP

Censoring public health in Queensland - a dangerous precedent?

Beyond the recent publicity around cuts to health and other portfolios, something deeply disturbing – even sinister – is occurring in Queensland. The state government is implementing health policies on…
Political responses to obesity have been more about creating a spectacle of “doing something” than solving the problem. Bruce A Stockwell

Why we’re losing the battle of the bulge: the politics of obesity prevention

There’s no doubt that obesity has received considerable political attention over the past decade. But data recently released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows Australians are losing…

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