The obesity epidemic is more complicated than the London Underground. Sugar is as big a villain as ‘Darth Vader’. No one is courageous enough to pass laws regulating how and what Australians can eat.
Those are some of the views expressed by Australian physicians at an anaesthetists conference in Brisbane, where the nation’s burgeoning waistline is high on the agenda.
University of Queensland Professor of Endocrinology John Prins believes legislation is “probably” necessary.
“You don’t think it will work? Think pool fences, seatbelts etc,” he told colleagues at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetist (ANZCA) annual scientific meeting in Brisbane on Sunday.
“Everybody knows it probably should be done, nobody knows how to do it – I certainly don’t, and no government is going to rush into it,” he said.
Slapping taxes on sugary drinks and junk food would be too “simplistic”, Prof Prins said.
The biggest risk of any legislation, he said, would be the offence it might give to those who believe they have an inherent right to determine what they eat without government interference.
“Some people are just quite happy being fat and don’t want anybody to legislate,” he said.