Saturday, January 29, 2011

This'll make Oswald apoplectic

The American Council of Science and Health notes:

Late last week brought news that the World Health Organization (WHO) has been working to facilitate a worldwide ban on ads for foods high in sugar, fat and salt intended for children. To that end, the WHO has arranged for a meeting of heads of state to discuss restrictions on ads for foods the WHO considers unhealthy. The conference will take place this September at the United Nations offices in New York.

Reuters says that the WHO has already persuaded Coca-Cola, Mexico's Grupo Bimbo, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft, McDonald's, Mars, Nestle, Pepsico, Unilever and the World Federation of Advertisers to sign a code of conduct in which they promise not to market their “unhealthy” items to children younger than age 12. The WHO notes that of the 42 million obese children around the world, 35 million are in less-developed countries.

ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan wonders how all this happened so under the radar. “Since when’” she asks, “did all these companies agree not to market ‘unhealthy’ products? This type of regulation is troubling in as much as it’s leading to a dichotomy of so-called ‘good food’ and ‘bad food’ in which a handful of experts are deemed qualified to tell us which is which.”

Friday, January 28, 2011

Even 'science' can't be trusted

Reported in Stuff today;

The latest findings echo an extensive review by the American Psychological Association in 2008 that found no evidence that ending an unwanted pregnancy threatens women's mental health.

A separate review by Blum and his colleagues found that the most rigorous research on the topic did not find a relationship between abortion and long-term mental health problems. Previous studies that suggested such a connection were often poorly designed, had dropout rates or did not control for factors that could affect the conclusion.

Reported in the NZ Herald in 2008;

The long-term Christchurch study of more than 500 women found a link between having an abortion and an increase of nearly a third in the risk of disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Reporting their findings in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the Otago University researchers say that abortions account for 1.5 to 5.5 per cent of the overall rate of mental disorders.

They said their study backed up others overseas which concluded that having an abortion may be linked to an increased risk of mental health problems.

Depending on your own personal viewpoint about abortion, take your pick.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's their choice

I have blogged previously about the situation with funding for stomach reductions and asked why people are not prepared to borrow what is required? The Whanganui DHB is holding out on making $35,000 available to a patient in that area. One Dr Soloman, who also sits on the board, has been pushing hers and another's case for some time.

I personally know of people who have borrowed/funded their own surgery and been able to live dramatically improved lives. Between $17,000 and $35,000 is equivalent to purchasing a car or taking out a student loan. Other people borrow sums of this size all the time.

However the pair have managed to swing a deal with the Korean Tourism agency (?) to get operations in that country at no charge. The doctor is still wringing his hands, now over the risk involved. The two women obviously think the risk is preferable to borrowing.

Guess who will get the blame if anything goes wrong, dear taxpayer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bans do not work

Banning does not stop the banned activity or commodity.

That is a fact illustrated repeatedly over the course of history.

These road crash statistics just provide more evidence.

Some will say, well at least they improved. But the smallish improvement was in the period directly after the legislation was introduced - typically when the effect is strongest.

Some people are stupid. That is also a fact. More people become stupid when a herd mentality is the norm and when the real consequences of stupid behaviour are minimised by collective responsibility.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Power for the sake of it is worthless

According to Home Paddock this is what John Key directed at Hone Harawira at Ratana yesterday. Home Paddock says it could just as well apply to Ratana;
“I say to the critics what can you achieve from opposition, and the answer is nothing. You achieve things when you are part of the solution not when you are solely carping on about the problems,”

That is the short view.

Effective opposition, in all forms, shapes public thinking. Effective opposition keeps a government in check.

And if the "solution" is not the right one, why would you want to be part of it anyway?

(While I have no sympathy for Harawira's world view, when he asks what National has done for Maori, it's hard to think of something. He will find a good deal of company with those Maori who still believe that the government is the be all and end all for their aspirations.)