Prevention news wrap

By Helen Signy, Senior Communications Officer

12 April 2018

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

The Guardian: 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.

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

Starts at 60: 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.

Co-design ‘risks being little more than a buzzword

The Mandarin: 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: 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: 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.

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

ABC: 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.

Taxing our unhealthy habits is a health boost for the poor

Scimex: 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.

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

The Conversation: 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.

Exercise: an essential evidence-based medicine

MJA: 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.