Eats cheese. Sells crack.
It has been well established that junk food is significantly cheaper than fresh fruit and veg. It in an important factor in low socioeconomic areas (along with others that have been mentioned).

I worked in public health prior to returning to uni, you may want to visit a COPD clinic and met a few oldies who are terminal well before their time, I haven't yet met a smoker who didn't regret their decision to smoke in the end. But it's your health and it's your decision, but ultimately it's the rest of us who where smart enough not to smoke that will be paying for your treatment in the end.

Collins and Lapsley 2007 - the economic cost of smoking to the community.

In 2004–05, social costs of tobacco abuse totalled just under $31.5 billion, more than 56% of the total estimated social costs of drug abuse in Australia in that year. Of the total estimated social costs of tobacco abuse, 38% were tangible costs and 62% were intangible.
Fruit and veg when in season is cheaper. I can't see how spending $32 for a family meal at McDonalds won't get you an equivalent amount or more in veg, fruit and even meat. It's convenience that makes fast food appealing.

I guess your doctor wasn't like John Becker then?

I'm happy with my choice to smoke. I enjoy it still. I exercise and eat healthy.

fatties costing Australia more than frenchys social smoking habit.

When this fat tax is introduced I'll stop my chugging back on my death sticks.


Eats Squid
It has been well established that junk food is significantly cheaper than fresh fruit and veg. It in an important factor in low socioeconomic areas (along with others that have been mentioned).
ACA interviews dont rank as evidence ;D

I can easily do pasta for a family for under $10 - one meal deal at maccas costs that

I can make a pizza cheaper than pick up, quicker than delivery, and healthier than any of them (they happen to taste good too)

Crikey, everyone must know someone who eats rubbish - in all the people i know its because they cant cook to save themselves - i dont know, maybe put jamie oliver on every channel 2 nights a week - get coles and wollies to sell packs of stuf for this weeks recipe at half price (even the govt can chip in with some of my money)

Give a hungry man a fish and he is satisfied today, but hungry again tomorrow
teach a hungry man how to fish and he will never hungar again


I however am very normal. Trust me.
ACA interviews dont rank as evidence ;D
Thank god I don't own a television, or I might be tempted to watch ACA! No my evidence is from published articles in peer review journals.

I go to a weekly seminar on physical activity and nutritional research, usually 2 presenters reporting problems and research into this very area - especially around children, it's good stuff, getting paid to learn.

Saethre, E. (2005). Nutrition, economics and food distribution in an Australian Aboriginal community. Anthropological Forum, 15(2), 151-169.

Burns, C. (2004). A review of the literature describing the link between poverty, food insecurity and obesity with specific reference to Australia. Melbourne: Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.

Nolan, M., Rikard-Bell, G., Mohsin, M., & Williams, M. (2006). Food insecurity in three socially disadvantaged localities in Sydney, Australia. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 17(3), 247-254.

Turrell, G., Hewitt, B., Patterson, C., Oldenburg, B., & Gould, T. (2002). Socioeconomic differences in food purchasing behaviour and suggested implications for diet-related health promotion. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 15, 355-364.


Eats Squid
c'mon, you know I cant read them. As someone from medical you also know that when it comes to sociological studies, if you set the rules you can set the results. No-ones going to be interested in a study that says raw ingredients are cheaper than takeaway in western sydney as long as you know how to cook.

Anyone my cynicism aside. I get around a lot to these suburbs, and unbelievably the busy places are maccas not the fish and chip shop (coz I'll grant that $8 worth of chips goes a friggin' long way).

Ultimately though, surely the biggest cost in nutrition isnt what they eat but how much they eat - and its cheaper to eat less, its cheaper to walk to the shops to, and water from the tap is cheaper than coke. many a researcher or dietitian would learn loads just going shopping and watching

Edit - well i did go and read the cancer councils basket survey - you should see some of the stuff in their basket - they excluded plain packaged stuff and aldi (brand name milk, 1kg powdered milk, uht milk - wtf?), and by and large found that people in remote areas dont do well for fresh fruit and veg - (yep we knew that) - not to mention the cancer council is one of the most appalling single issue organisattions this country has - see HRT and vit D for 2 compelling examples of net harm to the community
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Likes Bikes and Dirt
As far as the government is concerned, they would like everyone to die suddenly at age 55, while at work, having paid taxes and preferably being driven dead to hospital by private transport rather than by ambo.

Healthy food. Sadly driftking, your knowledge of healthy food (ie that which grows, is fresh, seasonal and prepared appropriately) while accurate, has been totally overwhelmed by other definitions of healthy. For example no fat or low fat (=high sugar, water, chemical thickeners or fibre - at least 2 substitutes are OK), Heart Tick (=circa $200000 to the heart foundation per item assessed, meaning Maccas can get one, but not a small business), low GI (if it's low GI, high kJ, low nutition it must be OK) and the best of all "I always eat healthy and exercise - why am I 40kg overweight?". Sham and stupidity have overcome common sense.

Truth is there is no truth in healthy nutrition as the public hears it. Micronutrients, in fashion fads (Goji, coconut water among others), complex carbs etc are all marketing tools, not an indication of healthy foods. If the government did introduce a weighted tax scale on foods, you can bet that white bread, white rice, pasta/processed sauces and thousands of unhealthy bullshit items that have no place in the diet of any species, let alone a supposedly intelligent one would all be taxed in the healthy scale.

Australia has fallen foul of allowing our regulators the right to say what is right. There are far too many examples of knee-jerk public/political interventions that make no sense (eg sun is bad - after how many hundreds of thousands of years - oh wait, I forgot the ozone all pissed off?!?) and I would not trust the pollies to get this one right either.

I like your idea driftking, but the reason you are not good at politics is that you have no vested interest in margins, manipulation, profit or control of society. Having said that, I'd vote for you to assess products for health tax over Rosemary Stanton and all the other big-mouthed, paid liers.


I however am very normal. Trust me.
Ultimately though, surely the biggest cost in nutrition isnt what they eat but how much they eat - and its cheaper to eat less, its cheaper to walk to the shops to, and water from the tap is cheaper than coke. many a researcher or dietitian would learn loads just going shopping and watching
They certainly do go out an watch what people buy and eat, they then correlate it across socio-economic, education, culture, religion, you name it. Do they have enough funding to make a real difference to peoples lives via education and affordable food, no.

When you mention how much they eat, it's not so much the volume of food, but the energy content within the food, ie kilo of salary vs a kilo of suger. And this is certainly the problem for the average sedentary person, obesity take years to occur, you don't wake up one day with a BMI of 55, it happens over a long period of time. If you over consumed by 1 can of coke per day - 675kj, after a week = 4725kj, month = 20250, year = 243000 or an extra 7.5kg of fat in 1 year. 10 years later you 75kg over weight and applying for the biggest loser -all from 1 extra can of coke per day. In reality you'd plateau well before the 75kg mark, but heart disease also occurs well before this point.

Maybe a slightly different way of looking at nutrition vs cost (not necessarily a better method) is value for money based on energy content.

Prices are off safeways online store.

Timtams $3.21 (on special $2) 4323kj
bananas $3.98 (kg) 3891kj


birdseye wedges (1kg) $3.97 5260kj
Potatoes (1kg) $2.48-$3.48 4578kj

Raw potatoes are cheaper, even the pre washed ones, but then calculate the time and effort to prepare them for cooking and suddenly the 50c extra would seem like a good deal. And again the junk food has more energy and therefore better value for money (with a twisted logic).


Likes Dirt
I'm sure a lot of you don't read the Essential Baby part of SMH, but there was a good article on this very topic here


Likes Bikes and Dirt
How about some big labels on junk food wrapers like smokes have?

eg. these fries will make you an obese lazy slob
this product has no real food value and contains more fat than you should eat all day


Likes Dirt
It is probably fair to say that there are a lot of families where the woman/mother makes the choices about what food is eaten by the family. I know in my little family, despite my boy being cared for in equal amounts by grandparents and parents, I make close to 100% of the choices about what food goes in his mouth (even though the rest of my family can pipe in, they don't).

You make these choices at the supermarket and also during the day when you have to food prep. It takes a lot of time and dedication to not only plan your own food, but that of everyone else too. Especially difficult when you have kids who naturally love the sweet and fatty foods. It is a hell of a lot easier to just eat pre-processed/nutritionally deficient food.

Also when you are time poor, you end up throwing out a lot of fresh food gone bad, because you just didn't get around to it.

So here is my can of worms: As guys why don't you help change the culture of making poor food decisions?

Go and buy the vegetables and prep them. Do the grocery shopping
Do meal planning for the week
Support other guys who are dads to get involved with food choices. Especially if they are divorced (because single mums are very time poor)

You don't need a tax and most people know what they need to do to eat better. Help them be that way
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Norco Maniac

Grooms mobile dogs
you can lead a horse to water.....

i can't see how taxing unhealthy "foods" will change anything. tobacco is one of the most overpriced commodities and yet people still spend $15+ a day on it. pre-mixed drinks were taxed a few years ago, the price went up and the alcohol content went down, people still buy them. nothing has changed.

i watched my stepfather die of bowel cancer at 45. my mother from throat cancer at 56. my father was dead of heart failure at 55. all from lifestyle choices that eventually killed them.

MIL is coeliac and has lesions on her brain from the damage gluten does to her body - but she'll still have the foods that are bad for her. she's also a nurse so she damn well knows better. FIL is massively overweight - approaching the 160kg mark at 5'6" - and a type 2 diabetic. he also lost a kidney to cancer six years ago. he's on three different types of pain meds including oxycontin for the back pain he gets from his massive overhang, cholesterol drugs, diabex and insulin, yet refuses to drink water and goes through a packet of tim tams every couple of days and 2lt of coke zero every day.

their combined medications are costing them upwards of $150/week. and it frustrates the hell out of me when i'll cook a good healthy meal for them and they'll eat a bit of it then go eat junk.

i worked full time while i had four kids at home and still fed them decent healthy food - because i made it a priority. sure by then i wasn't baking my own bread any more nor did i have a veggie garden like i'd had when they were little, but it takes 20 minutes to throw a pot of curry in the slowcooker and that can be done while supervising a child at the dinner table doing their homework. my kids were always happy to help with dinner prep and i made a point of involving them in meal choices when we shopped. they all cook well (they're grown and left home) and they are all relatively healthy - but they were brought up in a non-smoking, non-drinking household and guess what? they all smoke.


eating well isn't difficult. and it IS cheaper if you pick non-packaged foods, seasonal veg and fruit, and cheaper cuts of meat ie gravy beef and turkey strips.

it amuses me to read food labels and see how so many cheap fillers such as Xanthan gum are added to expensive "low-fat" processed foods that are also full of sugar, artificial colours, and artificial sweeteners that have been linked to cancers. but they're healthy for you!! aren't they?

it alternately amuses and horrifies me that we're been taught sun is bad but chemical laden sunscreens aren't, and now we have to supplement with Vitamin D because we don't get enough sun, how we're supposed to eat low-fat for our hearts and take animal fats completely out of our diets but supplement with fish oils and expensive, ecologically unsound krill oil, and our children are totally discouraged from playing outside and testing their own physical limits but it's fine for them to be sat in front of the X-box eating additive-laden snack "foods".

to my mind the health food industry is all about proliferation and selling product just as much as the pharmeceutical industry.


Eats Squid
I'm sure a lot of you don't read the Essential Baby part of SMH, but there was a good article on this very topic here
I was looking for something to disagree with, but cant.

There's a concept i like about govt - if the govt is paying out money to achieve something, someone at sometime needs to show it works or it will get cut. When govt is receiving money for an initiative they will rarely if ever examine if it does what it was set out to do. the 2 obvious examples are tariffs versus subsidies and speed cameras versus road improvements - cash inflow is totally addictive to govt


Likes Dirt
There seems to be a ever growing problem that as healthcare rises and disease rises it comes back very much to diets, we seem to be confronted with more issues, though healthy foods are more expensive and many people cannot afford these healthy foods, creating a ever spiraling cycle of unhealthy food and more health care etc that seems difficult to turn around.

I disagree with your statement where healthy food is more expensive.
There is this commercial marketing campaign where "Healthy" is only fruit and vege raised in a totally organic nature. Have some organic friends and they make us feel bad by using the microwave and not eating organic lettuce?!?! Funny thing is we consume less starch and fats and more vegetables than they do but we have the problem.
A majority of the population would be better any just more vegetables.

We did a massive diet switch at the start of the year, Drop our daily calories to what was needed and dropped processed foods (Breads etc) from our main meals. Our food will dropped massively.

To a large degree the problem is with laziness. It all required effort. Cooking, Exercise, Care, shopping. Its in our nature to be ultimately efficient as a survival trait. People for their own reasons and excuses are where they are in life.

Just my 2 cents