As the leading cause of death in Australia, obesity has Lessons overtaken tobacco. This is partly due to Australia’s success at reducing smoking, although those in the most vulnerable segments of society still smoke at unacceptable levels.
There are many lessons to be learn from the successes of tobacco campaigns and intervention that could apply in the fight against obesity.
Lessons From Smoking
Combining social marketing with national legislation has been a successful combination to reduce smoking. Social marketing is a powerful tool for promoting change. When it is implement, legislation provides disincentives and incentives to encourage healthier behavior.
There were first restrictions and then total bans on all advertising. First, there were restrictions, then total bans on advertising. The legislation that create smoke-free workplaces was extend over time to any enclose public place where people gather for any activity, with the exception of some casino, such as shopping, travel, entertainment, or other recreation.
Gradually, the tax on tobacco products was increase. The government recently introduced plain packaging legislation. These efforts have led to a significant drop in smoking rates and improved health qq online.
What About Obesity?
Like smoking, obesity is more severe for the economically disadvantage. This could be due to the economics in food choice, where energy-dense and nutrient-poor processed foods cost more per calorie than fresh, minimally-processed foods. Fresh, healthy foods are consider the foundation of a healthy diet. These foods include wholegrain cereals, fresh plant foods, lean meats, fish, and wholegrain cereals.
The globalized food system produces a large amount of processed foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. These foods provide energy (calories, or kilojoules) at very affordable prices. This has been more apparent over the past 30 years, coinciding with the obesity crisis.
For example, relative to the GDP of the United States, sugar and sweetened beverages have fallen, while fresh fruits and vegetables have risen sharply, resulting in a difference of two to threefold since 1980.
There is also evidence that processed foods have a high level of protein and can lead to an over-consumption and depletion of energy, such as carbohydrates and fats. This is call the protein leverage hypothesis.
What Is The Best Way To Make It Work?
What regulatory strategies could used to combat obesity? Clear product information could be a starting point. This should include a clear and simple food labelling system that is guide by independent principles of public health.
Traffic-light labelling put forward in the recent excellent government-commission report Labelling Logic. It fell short of the usual hurdle that required industry support in order to gain more traction. Imagine if the tobacco sector had been require to support earlier efforts to reduce smoking.
However, there are some positive developments. Major fast food chains across the globe now have to list kilojoule values on their food and beverages. Some restaurants also do this voluntary.
We should do more. There are many examples worldwide of taxation being apply to unhealthy products. France, for example, taxes sweetened beverages, while Denmark has recently implemented a fat tax, and Peru is planning to tax junk food.
Taxes On Unhealthy Food Lessons
Taxes on unhealthy food are often opposed because they can be regressive, which means that people with lower incomes will suffer more. Although this is a major issue, it has been suggested that a more comprehensive approach which includes taxes on unhealthy food and subsidies for healthy foods could reduce its regressive effect while maximising the health benefits.
These measures could also be used to bring relative prices for healthy and unhealthy food back to the level they were before the obesity epidemic exploded 30 years ago. However, as we learned from tobacco, there is no one solution to obesity that will work. Progress will likely be incremental. There will need to be action on many fronts, including regulation of advertising and marketing. Incentives and pricing regulation in order to encourage healthier choices. Every step of the process will require effective social marketing campaigns.
It’s not only the food supply that needs to change. Other areas that encourage physical activity will need to be addressed. Such as urban planning to encourage walking and cycling, public transport use and workplace innovation.