Shock tactics could help solve obesity crisis


AS the number of Queenslanders carrying too much weight outnumbers smokers by more than five-to-one and obesity is second-only to smoking as a modifiable risk factor for cancer, the state's top doctor says radical action is needed.

AMA chief Dr Dilip Dhupelia says radical action is needed to solve Queensland’s obesity crisis. Picture: Mark Cranitch
AMA chief Dr Dilip Dhupelia says radical action is needed to solve Queensland’s obesity crisis. Picture: Mark Cranitch

The in-your-face photos of cancerous tumours on cigarette packets and TV advertising showing smokers on their death beds has been a highly effective part of the nation's drive to reduce smoking rates.

"If all Queenslanders were of a healthy weight there would be 2200 fewer cancer diagnoses each year. With two thirds of adults and one quarter of children overweight or obese in Queensland, obesity is a public health crisis," Dr Dhupelia said.

The Cancer Council Queensland supports a campaign to educate Queenslanders on how carrying too many kilos increases the chance of many cancers like colorectal, oesophageal, endometrial, pancreatic, kidney, post-menopausal breast and liver.

Excess weight increases insulin resistance which leads to the production of more insulin and his can promote cancer cells.

Cancer Council Queensland chief Chris McMillan.
Cancer Council Queensland chief Chris McMillan.

Too much fat can also increase sex steroid hormones which are linked to some women's cancers.

"It is important for individuals to be more aware that their weight can have a significant impact on their cancer risk and public health campaigns can play an important role in educating communities," Cancer Council Queensland chief executive Chris McMillan said.

Data collected from The Chief Health Officer's latest report shows that there are 424,000 adult smokers in Queensland and 2,492,381 adults who are overweight or obese.

"Shock campaigns can play a role but what we really need is an overarching public health plan to combat Queensland's obesity epidemic and its associated illnesses from a number of different points of view. AMAQ has long been mooting for a strong multi-layered approach to combat obesity as a whole of Government response and the recent funding allocated by the Government through Health and Wellbeing Queensland and further health prevention initiatives will hopefully allow this," Dr Dhupelia said.