Monday, April 18, 2016


Last evening Dr Robyn Toomath has relaunched her valuable  work focus with a book.

Long since a go to for health and illness with some emphasis on obesity the good Dr was a centre piece for the latest Media Party assault on Sugar.

Now some people are predisposed to obesity, I recall in early memories, Queen Salote of Tonga in the "Auckland Weekly" that we got a week after Ned Baker who was in fact a 'dinky' in post war times with no kids to mop up spare money and could afford the largely pictorial weekly that gave imagery to the news c1950. After we had read them they were bundled up every month and posted on to Ned's rellies in UK for their edification on matters colonial.

I digress, the posted pictures of the Queen of Tonga were of a very large woman,  she was a significant memory.
With zero understanding of Tongas place in my emerging conscious awareness, she was merely the equal of my monarchs, Elizabeth nee Bowes Lyon, the imperious and stately Dowager Queen Mary and next in line our present monarch Lillibet.
None of them seemed so big physically but Salote, well she was big,  and  6foot 3 inches tall.
Now it is acknowledged that Pacifica peoples have a serious predisposition to being fatties with morbid obesity a massive health issue. Many very fit pacifica athletes and even caucasians are obese on accepted BMI's
All Polynesian peoples seem to be afflicted and their exposure to dietary mores here in NZ make that predisposition so much worse. 

Diabeties, heart disease, circulatory and breathing constraints and the growing problems around seat sizes and weight issues for emergency services let alone early death, all point to the seriously growing problem, pun intended.
So Fast food, laden with fats and sugar,  sugar laden soft drinks, increasingly sedentary lifestyles that are the bane of many from all ethnic  entities who are suffering degrading health status, become the target for the food Nazis and a very convenient diversionary cause

Last night the Media Party launched another attack on "Big Sugar' with proposals for the silver bullet in the form of a "TAX" on soft drinks, no mention of energy rich sweet foods where almost all the energy is "Sugar", no mention of breakfast serials (just read labels), no mention of the many sauces and spreads that are scary when analysed, just the never mentioned by brand name drinks: Coca cola, Pepsie, Fruit juices,  energy drinks,  referenced by implication and evidenced by much of the litter along roadsides

What a crock, to be effective such a tax would need to be levied at eye watering rates that would create a veritable raft of accompanying problems.
Will the Tax be levied on the drink volume, the unit product, wholesale/retail,  the sugar content.
Will the sugar be taxed as the raw component, if so the inflation figures will be a biggy as such a tax will cause massive increases in retail pricing across all supermarket aisles.
Will the dairies that proliferate near schools be moved further away and will compensation be payable.
Will there be a limiting of fast food outlets, again will there be recompense for commercial losses.
Then there will be the unintended consequence of creating a higher value and such product will be added to the targets for thieving and burglary even to the point of robbery should a weaker citizen try to enjoy a 'coke' on a street.

Then there was the central plank in the good Dr's theory, abandoning personal responsibility for the problem and expanding such control to "Collective Responsibility", allowing significant impacts on the personal rights of those who are not deemed "Fat bastards". The Gin and tonic will not only suffer the rising tax imposed as a revenue gathering exercise on the wet dreams of wowsers such as Selman et al in alcohol imposts but the humble tonic with its Quinine and sugar that gives the wonderful flavour and the hint of blue, will be taxed in a vain attempt to stop some fat bastard drinking cheep coke.
If Toomath's idea gains a foothold will that mean a well intentioned skinny prick   be empowered to tell the fat bastard loading their trolley with litres of coke, they are in contempt of the new Collective Responsibility rules. What could possibly go wrong.

My earliest memories include the "Ration Books" that were a remnant of government attempts to control sugar consumption during WW2. That worked really well for the honest and the patriotic while a minority made hay in a black market along with meat, petrol and other essentials of life similarly constrained.

Alcoholics drink too much booze, Smokers inhale too much smoke, some religious adherents pay too much dosh to their church, fatties consume too many calories.
Many make poor choices and are left to consider what they have wreaked, it seems a little unfair to Tax My Gin and Tonic indulgence to solve their problem.


PC said...

Yes, I noticed the new "collective responsibility" line too. Being a skinny bugger, does that mean it's my job to chase the fatties with a stick to make them run? If so, I'm warming to this new collective responsibility.

The Veteran said...

Interesting to see if this is implemented in a totally holistic way how the Labour Party are going to be able to entice out their South Auckland vote .... collective responsibility and all of that vs KFC.

Anonymous said...

An amusing story about Her Largeness Queen Salote of Tonga. She was riding in an open coach about 15th down the line on the Queens coronation. She was sharing with a very small man, an Italian count I believe, when a BBC commentator asked who he was and Noel Coward replied in that Languid drawl of his..."Lunch I believe".

Lord Egbut Nobacon

Psycho Milt said...

From this article at Stuff:

Auckland doctor Robyn Toomath spent years telling her diabetes patients to lose weight only to have them fail despite their best intentions.

Eventually she stopped altogether and her book, Fat Science, explains why.

So, having demonstrated career failure at influencing her diabetic patients' ability to lose weight (patients who have more incentive than anyone else on the planet to lose weight), she's now written a book claiming expertise on the subject of losing weight. Having seen other examples of Toomath's chutzpah, I'm not surprised.

Also: judging from the content of the article, she knows as much about science as Sue Kedgeley does, so the book might be grossly mistitled.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Who knew when governments were first formed to take collective responsibility for such matters as keeping people safe from each other, they would evolve into enforcing collective responsibility for keeping each other safe from themselves.

Anonymous said...

Shit, if PM is bagging her, she must be bad. LOL!
As a professional medical scientist I have watched Toomath and co from a distance now and I am
left wondering how they got so far. PM is right, their "science" is nothing more than opinion.
If they want my credulity, they need to do an RCT on 4,000+ with their chosen intervention.
But that would require some individual responsibility on the participants to comply...oh wait.