News and events

Must-read articles about prevention

NT royal commission: ‘Record investment’ to reform ‘broken’ NT child protection and youth justice system

ABC, 20 April 2018: More than 200 recommendations from the royal commission into youth detention and child protection are to be funded by the NT Government, in a bid to reform the Territory’s “broken” youth justice system.

Report reveals the worst towns for smoking in pregnancy

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 April 2018: One in five mums smoked during pregnancy in the western Queensland primary health network area, according to figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Better health and diet well before conception results in healthier pregnancies

The Conversation, 18 April 2018: A series of papers published this week in The Lancet argues women’s health in the months and years before they become pregnant can impact on their health during pregnancy and the baby’s development.

Legal highs: arguments for and against legalising cannabis in Australia

The Conversation, 17 April 2018: Greens leader Richard Di Natale has proposed cannabis should be legalised and sold in plain packaging, with its wholesale distribution monopolised by a new government agency. So what are the pros and cons of legalising cannabis?

New blood pressure guidelines may make millions anxious that they’re at risk of heart disease

The Conversation, 17 April 2018: Reducing the threshold for diagnosing high blood pressure to a systolic reading of 130mmHg, as recommended by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, is likely to harm up to 80% of those newly diagnosed, says an analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine.

It’s time for the sweetest tax of them all

The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 April 2018: Never before has a tax been such an instant success. I am talking about what happened in Britain last Friday. That’s when new so-called sugar tax sprung into life, with much of its work already done.

Australian children going hungry, report finds, with one in five kids missing meals

ABC, 15 April 2018: One in every five Australian children has gone hungry in the past 12 months according to a new report, with some even resorting to chewing paper to try to feel full.

Proposal to lift the smoking age to be considered by health experts

ABC (audio), 14 April 2018: State and territory health ministers have agreed to investigate a proposal to lift the age of buying tobacco to 21 years in an attempt to cut smoking rates.

Extra glass of wine a day ‘will shorten your life by 30 minutes’

The Guardian, 13 April 2018: Drinking is as harmful as smoking, and more than five drinks a week lowers life expectancy, say researchers.

Mental illness and poverty: How class gets ‘under our skin and into our brain’ 

ABC, 13 April 2018: Although mental health is complex and layered, researchers have found many common mental health disorders, just like other aspects of wellbeing, are shaped to a large extent by social, economic and political forces.

E-cigarettes: NSW bans vaping in public places with $550 fine for offenders

The Guardian, 12 April 2018: Health officials say vapours can contain cancer-causing substances as ban brings state in line with Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and ACT.

Plan to tackle endometriosis top of list at COAG health ministers meeting

The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 April 2018: A plan is being drawn up by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to tackle endometriosis, a chronic, painful condition suffered by 700,000 women nationally. Mr Hunt will place a draft national action plan on endometriosis front and centre at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting of health ministers on Friday in Sydney.

Fresh calls for the smoking age to be raised to curb health issues

Starts at 60, 12 April 2018: Health ministers across Australia are to debate whether raising the smoking age to 21 will benefit public health. According to a report by the Daily Telegraph, West Australian Health Minister Roger Cook is pushing for cigarettes to be banned for sale to anyone under the age of 21. It comes after mining magnate Andrew Forrest has also encouraged the federal government to crack down on the tobacco industry, noting it could be liable for the many health problems smokers face as a direct result of their cigarette habit.

Childhood obesity: The Singapore fat camps where children are shamed for being overweight

ABC, 11 April 2018: In the fight against obesity, government-sponsored fat camps that shame young children into losing weight seem like an extreme approach to public health. But that is exactly what Singapore has done, and the results speak for themselves — with a markedly lower obesity rate compared with other western countries.

Too many cars, too few supermarkets: how Australia’s cities really stack up

The Guardian, 10 April 2018: The Centre for Urban Research’s Creating Liveable Cities in Australia report provides the first baseline measure of liveability in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart. The result of five years of research, it examines walkability, public transport, public open spaces, housing affordability, commuting and access to food and alcohol.

Co-design ‘risks being little more than a buzzword

The Mandarin, 9 April 2018: There is little evidence that co-design improves outcomes, or even a clear definition of what it is. A new paper explores some of the challenges for public servants.

Facebook admits it discussed sharing user data for medical research project

The Guardian, 6 April 2018: The company was in discussions with major medical institutions about sharing user and patient data for a research project, according to CNBC. The proposed plan – later put on hold – included using a process to match data for individuals in both sets, which would be anonymized, to research how such information sharing could improve individual patient care.

Doctors should consider using e-cigarettes to help patients who have repeatedly failed to quit tobacco, a new study says

UNSW, 6 April 2018: Growing evidence of the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a quitting aid means doctors should consider recommending them as a less harmful alternative for patients who have repeatedly failed to stop smoking tobacco with approved treatments, a new study concludes.

Cancer costs Australia nearly $2 billion per year in lost labour

The Conversation, 6 April 2018: Australia loses nearly A$2 billion of GDP every year due to people with cancer leaving the workforce, according to a study published in BMC Public Health. 67% of Australians of working age (25-64) diagnosed with cancer reported changes to their employment in 2015, such as reduced hours and stopping work.

Taxing our unhealthy habits is a health boost for the poor

Scimex, 5 April 2018: Taxes on soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco have the potential to produce major health gains among the poorest in society, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date of evidence on expenditure, behaviour and socio-economic status, and how they relate to rising rates of non-communicable diseases.

Exercise: an essential evidence-based medicine

MJA, 2 April 2018: Many of the next generation of elite Australian sportsmen and women will be inspired by the Commonwealth Games and will passionately commit to specialised training and exercise regimes to pursue their sporting dreams. Sadly, there is no evidence, at a population level, that spectators enjoying the performances of highly trained athletes will increase their own physical activity and exercise patterns long term.