Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute says the heavy economic
burden of our increasingly overweight population costs every
Queenslander twice as much as they pay for electricity.
Ms Trute says Queenslanders may be worried about power bills,
but they should be twice as concerned about our average size and
shape and our health and wellness.
"No one wants to be overweight," Ms Trute says. "But when one in
three of us is overweight (33.4%) and almost one in three is obese
(30.2%), it is time to stop pointing the finger and unite as a
community to respond.
"Having two in every three Queenslanders overweight or obese is
not healthy and the consequences are not cheap, for the individual
and for society as a whole.
"Obesity costs Queenslanders $11.6 billion a year. That's the
impact on our economy of sick days, lost productivity, hospital and
health expenses, doctor's bills and the rest.
Across a population of 4.8 million Queenslanders, that's a
burden of $2375 a person - about twice the amount we pay for
"Do we want to just pay to treat obesity, or do we want to fight
Ms Trute says that to fight the growing burden of obesity and
consequential increases in rates of type 2 diabetes and other
chronic diseases, Diabetes Queensland supports a soft drink tax and
other policy initiatives proposed by the Obesity Policy
"Soft drinks have massive numbers of kilojoules, but no
nutritional value," she says. "In countries and communities where
soft drink taxes apply, we have seen falling consumption, changed
recipes and smaller containers.
"But at the same time, new streams of revenue make
it possible to fund school sports, support improved weight loss
programs and other measures that will have a direct and positive
Ms Trute says excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
threatens good community health today much like tobacco
"Just like for tobacco, we need to send a message to the
community about obesity and a soft drink tax is a powerful way to
"Like it was for
tobacco, soft drink manufacturing is very profitable. While
Queenslanders pay for the consequences of over-consumption, soft
drink manufacturers have massive advertising budgets and formula 1
"We want to see
just a portion of that money diverted to fund kids' sport in