60 percent of Gold Coasters deemed overweight or obese

It’s been revealed more than half of Gold Coasters are overweight or obese, but we’re still doing better than the whole of Queensland.

In light of World Obesity Day last week, new figures have showed that 60.5 percent of Gold Coast adults are overweight or obese.

To fall into that ‘overweight’ category, you must have a BMI (Body Mass Index) between 25 and 29.9, ‘obesity’ requires a BMI of 30 or above.

The Gold Coast has clocked a 28.3 percent obesity rate in adults, according to the latest figures from the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University.

It falls second only to Brisbane’s rate, which was the lowest in the state at 23.8 percent.

The Mitchell Institute analysis claims the overweight/obesity rates around the country seem to correspond closely to where people live.


Shocking data released for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Shocking new data has revealed breast cancer could claim thousands more lives over the next decade, if adequate research isn’t done.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) released the data to coincide with the first day of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It shows another 30,000 lives could be lost to breast cancer over the next decade, without adequate research investment.

The data also revealed the following data:

  •  A woman’s risk of breast cancer is now 1 in 7, up from 1 in 8 in the last year alone.
  •  8 women would continue to die every day which is the 2nd highest cancer killer in Australian
  • Over 76,000 Australians would also lose a direct family member – a mother, sister, or daughter
    by 2030.
  • Australia would stand to lose over $1.868 billion in wages just through lives lost to breast
    cancer, this year alone.

The NBCF has funded vital life-saving research into breast cancer since 1994, with data now showing that funds have saved over 44,000 lives in this time.

Funding has helped find new risk factors, improve early detection and create more effective, less harsh treatment options.

Professor Sarah Hosking, CEO of the National Breast Cancer Foundation, believes no-one should have to die from breast cancer, and that continued investment to life-saving research is the only way to change these statistics.

“This year alone nearly 20,000 Australians, both men and women, will come face to face with the disease and unfortunately more than 3,000 will lose their life.

“This doesn’t have to be the case though; the National Breast Cancer Foundation has launched an ambitious target of zero deaths by 2030 but it is up to everyday Australians to help us achieve it.

“Our target is possible but only if we continue to receive direct investment for the world-class research we fund.

“We are at a critical juncture whereby a future where no Australian has to lose a parent, partner, sibling or child to this devastating disease is in sight.

“By investing in NBCF’s vision of zero deaths from breast cancer, they can support our game-changing research projects and help us achieve the target,” Ms Hosking said.

Walk for Womens Cancer

Locals urged to sign up for Gold Coast Walk for Women’s Cancers

It’s nearly time for Gold Coasters to band together and take strides to support local women affected by cancer.

Cancer Council Queensland are calling upon Gold Coast locals to pre-register for Walk for Women’s Cancers and to help raise vital funds for its work in women’s cancers.

The family-friendly event will be held on Saturday, September 21 at Kurrawa Park from 8am, and attendees are encouraged to rock pink attire.

Currently, one in six Queensland women will be diagnosed with a breast or gynaecological cancer in their lifetime.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillian encouraged locals to show their support for women affected by cancer by registering for the event.

“Participation in events like this help fund research for life-saving treatments and support programs to ensure nobody goes on a cancer journey alone,” Ms McMillan said.

“Thanks to advances in treatment options, screening programs and prevention, more Queenslanders are alive today.

“More than 51,800 Queensland women are alive today after a diagnosis of a women’s cancer in the past 25 years.

“However, some gynaecological cancers have no screening programs and vague symptoms, making them hard to detect and diagnose.

“This is why we need your help, to help us fund more research and save more women’s lives.

“Register now to walk with us at Gold Coast Walk for Women’s Cancers and help us raise funds so we can ensure the women you love have a cancer free future.”

Gold Coast locals can expect a fun-filled morning consisting of a full line up of activities including entertainment on the outdoor stage, market stalls and food vans.

Registration before the day is only $25 (3km) or $30 (6km) for adults. On the day adult registration is $35. Children under 5 walk free and children between the age of 6-17 can pre-register for $5 or register on the day for $10.

All funds raised will be invested in vital research, patient support services and prevention programs to help reduce the burden of women’s cancers.

To register, or find out more information, visit walkforwomen.org.au/.


Supermarket Register Checkout

Supermarkets put junk food on special twice as often as healthy food, and that’s a problem

Half-price chips, “two for one” chocolates, “buy one get one free” soft drinks: Australian supermarkets make it very easy for us to fill our trolleys with junk food.

Add in the bonus of an Ooshie or a Little Shop collectable and you’re likely going home with a pile of products that will fill out both your pantry and your waistline.

We looked at supermarket specials over a year to see how healthy they were. The results of our research, published August 16, show junk foods are discounted, on average, twice as often as healthy foods.

Australians buy about two-thirds of their food and drink at the supermarket, and 40% of their foods on special. We know environments dominated by heavily promoted junk foods are a key driver of unhealthy diets.

Where unhealthy diets are one of the leading contributors to poor health in Australia, the way supermarkets apply discounts needs to change. We all love a bargain, but we may be paying the real price with our health.

Junk foods attract more specials, and bigger discounts

In our research, junk foods included chocolate, chips, confectionery, ice cream and high-sugar breakfast cereals. We found these sorts of products were on special twice as often as healthy foods – 29% versus 15% of the time.

We also looked at how discounts varied according to the healthiness of the products. We assessed the “healthiness” of foods using the Health Star Rating system – an Australian government-endorsed scheme that gives each product a score out of five.

We found the more stars a food product had, the less often it was on special, and the smaller the discount when it was. Discounts applied to junk foods were, on average, almost twice as large as discounts on healthier options (26% off versus 15% off).

A similar recent study of drink specials in supermarkets over a year found almost half of all drink specials were for sugar-sweetened beverages (soft drinks, sports and energy drinks, and cordials). Within drink categories, twice as many sugar-sweetened beverages were on special compared to specials for milk and water (34% versus 15% of the time).

How do supermarkets decide what to discount?

The way supermarkets choose what products are on special each week is complex.

Food manufacturers pay large premiums to have their products featured in supermarket catalogues, at end-of-aisle displays or near the checkout. The arrangements between food manufacturers and supermarkets are often governed by contracts that specify the way products are to be promoted.

Consumers will often make purchasing decisions based on what’s on special.
From shutterstock.com

Food manufacturers and supermarkets know unhealthy food is often bought on impulse, making price discounts a great way to entice customers to make those impulse choices.

Despite their claims to be healthy places to shop, supermarkets are major culprits in pushing junk food upon us.

Does it have to be this way?

If Australia is serious about addressing its obesity crisis, the way junk food is promoted in our supermarkets needs serious review. There’s a real opportunity for both supermarkets and food manufacturers to take the lead in helping to encourage healthier eating.

Big supermarket chains stock more than 30,000 products. Most large food manufacturers have a wide variety of products, ranging from more healthy to less healthy. Supermarkets and food manufacturers could work together to put healthier options on special more often.

Government regulation may play a role, too. Governments around the world are starting to recognise the role of price discounts in driving unhealthy diets. There are current proposals in the UK and Scotland to use government regulations to restrict price discounts for unhealthy products.

There are several ways governments in Australia could step in to limit the impact of unhealthy discounting, including:

  • restricting the proportion of unhealthy food allowed to be discounted
  • restricting multi-buy specials (such as “buy one get one free”) on unhealthy products
  • reducing the size of discounts on unhealthy food
  • restricting the advertising of price discounts (for example, through signage).

Supermarkets of the future

Imagine what it would be like to shop at a supermarket where healthier food was on special more often, and with bigger discounts. Where customers were enticed by discounted fruit and vegetables instead of half price chips, chocolate and soft drinks.

Australian supermarkets have already taken some positive steps to make their stores healthier, including an increased focus on fresh food. Extending this to improving the healthiness of their discounts could have a real benefit on the health of generations to come.

Adrian Cameron, Associate professor, and Associate Director of the Global Obesity Centre, Deakin University; Christina Zorbas, PhD Candidate, Deakin University; Devorah Riesenberg, Research fellow, Deakin University; Gary Sacks, Associate Professor, Deakin University, and Kathryn Backholer, Senior research fellow, Deakin University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
The Conversation


New embryo DNA test speeding up IVF and cutting miscarriage

A world-first DNA screening test for embryos is speeding up IVF, reducing miscarriages and giving fresh hope to would be parents on the Gold Coast.

Monash IVF Specialist Dr Kee Ong and his team are now able to test embryos by taking a sample of DNA fragments in the surrounding fluid, instead of the current and invasive biopsy procedure that can potentially damage or destroy weaker embryos.

Dr Kee Ong said the revolutionary test opens up a world of possibility for patients, in particular older mums and patients who have suffered repeated miscarriage.

“For the first time, we can identify the healthiest embryos with zero risk involved. The existing biopsy technique can not be performed on all embryos so many patients missed out,” Dr Ong said.

“Around 40 percent of patients who want to have genetic testing are unable to because their embryos are not strong enough to survive the procedure or the risk is too high. This new test is suitable for ALL embryos,” he said.

Available exclusively to Monash IVF patients, Dr Ong said the test will also reduce the number of babies born with genetic problems.

“One in six Australian couples struggle with infertility and the risk of chromosomal disorders is higher later in life when many women seek IVF treatment,” Dr Ong said.

“This journey is extremely stressful physically, emotionally and financially. Anything we can do to simplify the process, shorten the time it takes to achieve a healthy pregnancy and give patients peace of mind is an incredible thing.”

The new testing treatment is also a lot cheaper than the traditional method, as the process is quicker and less invasive.

“By making sure patients are having transfers with the healthiest embryos, we are reducing the frustration and we are also reducing the cost of the treatment,” Dr Ong said.

“Chromosomal disorders don’t just lead to babies born with Down Syndrome, a lot of those chromosomally abnormal embryos won’t take to begin with, so it makes it more difficult to fall pregnant or you may fall pregnant and miscarry,” Dr Ong said.

Overall, Dr Ong the test will increase the chance people will fall pregnant when they have an IVF transfer and reduce the chance of miscarriage once they are.

“We’re excited to be the only clinic on the Gold Coast offering this medical breakthrough and excited to already see first-hand the massive impact for our patients.”

For more information and to learn more about the embryo DNA test, visit: goldcoastfertilityspecialist.com.au/