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Generation "O"

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Generation "O"

Postby Fairie » Sun Oct 16, 2005 12:16 pm

I saw this and thought it looked interesting enough to post. Generation X, Y and now O... poor kids growing up titled gen O .... at least Gen X sounds kind of rock star!

Next on Four Corners: Who is to blame for the child overweight and obesity epidemic that is fast becoming a national health crisis?

Is it parents who cave in to "pester power" by allowing their kids too much junk food – and not making them run and jump? Is it the makers and the marketers of top selling foods loaded with sugar and fat? Or is the Government failing by refusing to crack down on junk food advertising to vulnerable children?

No one is owning up. Four Corners follows the "food chain" to see who should take responsibility for what is consumed by those at the very bottom – the children – and asks what can be done to make them healthier.

Reporter Ticky Fullerton reveals shocking new research which adds to a collection of grim data. The nation’s obesity already costs taxpayers at least $1 billion a year; the anguish suffered by overweight children who are bullied and stigmatised cannot be tallied.

"Surveys have actually found that children would rather say that they are good friends with someone with a very obvious disability then with a fat child," says nutritionist Rosemary Stanton.

In one decade the number of obese children tripled; overweight and obese people carry seven per cent of Australia’s disease burden - more than any group except smokers. Facts like these are public knowledge.

And all signals are that the full force of the crisis still lies ahead.

The expanding profiles of 1.5 million overweight Australian children obscure a host of latent – often deadly – diseases... diabetes, asthma and liver disease among them.

Type 2 diabetes – once called adult onset diabetes – is set to become a teen scourge. "It’s one thing for it to start when you’re 50; it’s an entirely different matter for it to start when you’re 15 or 20," one specialist tells Four Corners. "Probably by the time you’re in your 40s you will have had an amputation; you’ll be going blind or will already be blind; you’ll be staring down the barrel of heart disease, kidney failure and you’d probably be lucky to live beyond 50."

A debate now rages among health experts and policy-makers about whether the key problem is too much junk food, or too little exercise: gluttony versus sloth. According to one leading nutritionist, 21st century technology has made life too easy: "Human beings have basically outsmarted themselves. They’re too clever for their own good."

The Federal Government is putting money into kids’ exercise programs rather than attacking junk foods and their promotion. Its hands-off approach gives comfort to the politically heavyweight food industry as it wages battle with the "food police" – the nutritionists, academics, doctors and parents who lobby for more regulation.

Do parents need government help to control what their children eat?

Reporter Ticky Fullerton explores the obesity crisis and the politics of responsibility in "Generation O" – Four Corners, 8.30 pm Monday 17 October, ABC TV.

This program will be repeated about 11pm Wednesday 19 October; also on ABC2 digital channel at 7pm and 9.15pm Wednesday.

Four Corners

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