That was the amazing headline I saw on News.com.au today. I nearly fell off my chair.
WEIGHT-LOSS programs and products will have to prove they can help people keep off the kilos long-term as the Federal Government cracks down on the $414-million-a-year industry.
The Rudd Government’s Preventative Health Taskforce is understood to have called for the weight-loss industry to be regulated in a report handed down last month.
The Taskforce provided the National Preventative Health Strategy to the Government on 30 June 2009 and the Australian Government has been sitting on it ever since. This happens a lot with reports written by external Taskforces or Advisory Panels – they are submitted to the government (federal or state) and then various Ministers sit on them for months. There’s no indication when the Strategy will be released publicly.
It follows growing evidence that diets may actually be adding to the obesity crisis as overweight people lose weight rapidly while following programs but quickly put it back on after they stop.
The taskforce said that young women in particular were spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on programs to manage their weight.
Despite this, the nation’s obesity rate was climbing with more than 60 per cent of adults now overweight or obese.
Not only that…
The Dietitians Association of Australia is backing the recommendation.
The association said regulation should require businesses marketing a diet program to provide evidence to a panel of experts showing what percentage of those who used the diet kept the weight off two years after starting.
Chief executive Claire Hewat said a good diet would result in weight loss of about half a kilogram per week.
“If you can lose 5 per cent of your body weight you are doing really well,” she said. “Diets are not the point, it’s lifestyle change that is needed.”
Then the article puts the boot to the diet industry:
A Choice survey of pharmacy diet programs published earlier this year found they were successful at helping people shed kilos in a hurry if followed closely - but they did little to change a person’s lifestyle in the long term.
Many were so nutritionally deficient that dieters had to take vitamin supplements, while some counsellors selling the programs had just three hours training.
And then, of course, the Dietitians Association of Australia has to ruin everything with:
The association also wants national exercise guidelines reviewed because the 30 minutes of exercise a day promoted by the Government is good for general wellbeing but not enough to tackle obesity.
Let’s break that down.
Thirty minutes of exercise a day is good for general health, but won’t “tackle obesity”.
General health means nothing if you are still fat.
After the Chief Executive Officer of the DAA explicitly said “Diets are not the point, it’s lifestyle change that is needed”, the Association still believes that one’s fat – rather than one’s lifestyle – is at the root of all our problems.
How can that make sense to ANYONE?!
Alas. We were so close, so tantalising close to a mainstream Australian article espousing health at every size…