Articles on Public health

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Our changing food environment has undermined our capacity to be responsible in the first place. Shutterstock

Fat nation: why so many Australians are obese and how to fix it

In 1980 just 10% of Australian adults were obese; by 2012 this figure had risen to 25%, among the highest in the world. The food industry lobby and their friends in government would have us believe this…
Earlier closing times for pubs and bars is the key to preventing alcohol-fuelled assaults. André Hofmeister/Flickr

Earlier pub closing times key to reducing alcohol-fuelled assaults

Earlier pub closing times have a large impact on curbing alcohol-fuelled violence, according to research my colleagues and I have published today in the international peer-reviewed journal Drug & Alcohol…
Today’s global HIV statistics reflect increasingly risky sexual practices. Shutterstock

To curb rising HIV rates, we must target our human flaws

One of the most perplexing risks to public health is human nature. No matter how diligently public health campaigns lay out the facts, we continue to make seemingly illogical decisions. Just look at the…
Pop up e-cig bar. Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Explainer: what do we know about e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are increasingly popular in a number of countries including the UK, while in others such as Norway and Brazil they are banned altogether. So amid all these differences in policy, what do we…
Saved by the bell. NASA/GFSC/Rebecca Roth

School networks will help plan for the next flu pandemic

Lack of exposure to a particular influenza strain means you won’t have had a chance to build up complete immunity. And if the strain spreads easily between people and there is little immunity in communities…
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…

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