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Australia: Obesity problem is bigger than we think, despite GDP benefits

In an entertaining and thought-provoking opinion piece, Ross Gittins, the SMH’s economics editor, draws attention to the “benefits” of obesity to the economy (as measured by GDP) and its costs to us in terms of health.

He uses arguments put forward by Garry Egger and Boyd Swinburn in their book ‘Planet Obesity’ to outline why obesity is on the rise.

Clearly, he says, “it’s a product of our modern lifestyle, of the way we organise our society”. It “is a product of the success of capitalism and the technological advance it fosters and exploits”. Weight gain is no longer making us healthier: it is making us unhealthier.

“We’ve passed the ”sweet spot” – the point where everything’s fine, the point of equilibrium, as an economist would say.”

Read more: Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Oct 2010

Published on October 6, 2010 in Australian news