Wednesday, September 8, 2010

McDonalds Advert on Kids Channel - hmm...maybe they deserve some criticism

When I lived in Australia and America I used to eat a lot of McDonalds.  You have to see the adverts they are showing on Indian Cable TV kids channels (most of the TV in Bhutan is Indian cable).  But first, while driving through Tennessee some years back I bought the 4 Big Macs for $2 deal - with a thickshake for good measure.  About 20 miles down the freeway I had to pass the wheel to my less than impressed wife as I was entering some kind of hyper fat/protein induced coma. 

Last year I was at a Newcastle Chamber of Commerce talking about pandemic flu and shared a table with a McDonalds marketing manager - who had just finished talking about the McDonalds healthy choices menu.   Unfortunately, many of the healthy choices he promoted weren't actually available - take the vegie burger, you can't find a McDonalds that sells it anymore.  So, I sometimes think that McDonalds and other fast food outlets get a hard time - until I saw this commercial....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bhutan's Smoking Ban Reinvigorated

Bhutan became famous in the public health world for its ban on the sale of tobacco in 2005 (not possession of tobacco just the sale), however, what is not so well known is that there has not been a strong regulatory response to punish the sale of tobacco.  Unfortunately this led to many calls to drop the ban on tobacco describing it as ineffective.  In response to these demands I wrote this opinion piece for the Bhutan Observer.
The good news is the new Tobacco Act will come into effect in January, 2011 - which includes jail sentences for selling tobacco.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

PLoS Medicine: Social Relationships Are Key to Health, and to Health Policy

PLoS Medicine: Social Relationships Are Key to Health, and to Health Policy

So, there are difficulties with the methodology here of course, and you have to wonder why, as public health practitioners we jump through great hoops to "scientifically document" what is bleedingly obvious - that having friends and close relationships is good for you. There are no lobby groups explicitly arguing otherwise. However, the move to longer working hours suggests that collectively we forget the wider ramifications of societal impacts on relationships. Perhaps the Foucaultian biopower approach to lobbying for a better society is the justification for such studies.