Obesity cost to Queensland twice as much as electricity

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 electricity."


"Do we want to just pay to treat obesity, or do we want to fight obesity?"

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 Coalition.


"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. 


CEO Website border"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 impact."


Ms Trute says excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages threatens good community health today much like tobacco consumption.


"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 do it."


"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 teams.


"We want to see just a portion of that money diverted to fund kids' sport in QLD."


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