An aspiring politician wants to ban obese Australians from purchasing products containing white sugar or refined flour as part of a plan to combat obesity.
Liberal National Party candidate Nicole Tobin, who also works as a teacher, agreed with a social media post that claimed obese people ‘shouldn’t be able to purchase anything containing white sugar or refined flour’.
‘And no soft drink if your BMI is over 30 either,’ she wrote. ‘Water or one glass of red wine.’
Ms Tobin is running for the senate in Queensland for the Liberal National Party from an unwinnable spot at number six on the ticket.
Liberal National party candidate Nicole Tobin has sparked debate after saying sugar and refined flour should be off limits for obese Australians
The aspiring politician, who also works as a teacher, says she can spot the lunchbox of an obese child because they are always filled with packaged foods such as Tiny Teddies. She only allows her children to drink soft drinks when they compete in cross country running events
Liberal National party candidate Nicole Tobin suggested that people with a BMI over 30 should be banned from soft drinks and only be allowed water or one glass of red wine in a controversial Twitter thread
The teacher also told NewsCorp that she could always spot the lunchboxes of children who were overweight, because they were filled with Tiny Teddies and muffins from Coles and Woolies.
‘And I know parents are busy. I’m not saying I never sent my children with packaged food, but the ones who consistently have packaged food are the ones that you know, they don’t always make the good choices. ‘
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that 25 per cent of children aged five to 17, and 67 per cent of adults are overweight or obese.
Ms Tobin says she only allows her children to drink soft drinks when competing in cross-country running events.
She only drinks them herself on election day, because she ‘needs the sugar’.
‘I do think that people’s doctors should definitely be saying to them, I’m sorry. You need to cut down on things. It’s that simple.’
The Australian Medical Association believe the introduction of a sugar tax would help tackle the obesity crisis in Australia
Her comments follow Australia’s top doctors calling for a sugar tax on sweetened drinks to help tackle obesity, heart disease, diabetes and strokes to save billions in health costs.
The Australian Medical Association wants a tax of 40 cents per 100 grams of sugar which would increase the price of sweetened drinks by an average of 20 per cent.
The World Health Organisation says a 20 per cent increase is the minimum required to stop people buying them.
The tax would increase the cost of a 375ml can of coca cola with 40g of sugar by 16 cents and a 500ml can of Rockstar: Super Sours Energy Drink with 65g of sugar by 26 cents.
The tax would increase the cost of a 375ml can of coca cola with 40g of sugar by 16 cents
The AMA estimates the tax would raise $814million a year – which could be spent on tackling obesity – and result in 16,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes, 4,400 fewer cases of heart disease and 1,100 fewer strokes over 25 years.
The tax would reduce obesity by two per cent and save taxpayers up to $1.73 billion on healthcare costs, the AMA says.
‘It could save lives, and save millions of dollars in healthcare costs,’ said AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid.
More than 2.4 billion litres of sugary drinks are consumer every year in Australia, enough fill 960 Olympic sized swimming pools.
Dr Khorshid said they have ‘no nutritional value’ and fuel diabetes, obesity and poor vascular health which are ‘huge contributors to the burden on our health system.
‘The tax on sugary drinks sends a clear price signal to consumers that a product is unhealthy and makes it less affordable,’ he said
More than 2.4 billion litres of sugary drinks are consumer every year in Australia, enough fill 960 Olympic sized swimming pools
‘It can also nudge manufacturers to reformulate their products to contain less sugar.
‘The added bonus is that it will generate revenue to rekindle our nation’s preventative health agenda,’ Dr Khorshid said.
The AMA recommends the Commonwealth ultimately expands the tax to ‘incorporate other products that have little or no nutritional benefit, and/or high sugar content’.
Several jurisdictions around the world already have a sugar tax including the UK, Mexico, France, Chile and some US cities.
The UK scheme targeted at soft drinks prompted half of drink manufactures to reduce the sugar content of their products to avoid the tax in the two years after it was announced in 2016.
However, critics have slammed the proposal, saying it will only hike prices for poor families who consume more sugar.
‘Sugar taxes are elitist and inherently regressive,’ said Gideon Rozner, Director of Policy at free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.
‘What kind of mean-spirited organisation proposes to make soft drinks less affordable for working people?
‘Not content to throw us out of work and trash our liberties, the public health lobby is now angling to take away the precious few of life’s joys we have left.
‘The AMA should focus on issues pertaining to the medical profession, not telling the rest of us how to live our lives.’