A WAGGA medical student says it does “not make sense” the city continues to “run its health into the ground” and has welcomed renewed local debate over unhealthy weights.
It comes as Krispy Kreme Australia chief executive John McGuigan confirms that “coming soon” signs signifying the arrival of the donut chain are indeed a hoax.
While Mr McGuigan acknowledged the positive reaction as a good sign, he said the company had no immediate plans to establish a permanent presence in the city.
“We’ve got a whole lot of other markets we want to concentrate on first,” he said.
However, the initial Advertiser story prompted Luigi Zolio, a fourth-year medical student at Monash University, to write an impassioned letter to the editor expressing his frustration at the number of fast food outlets in Wagga.
Mr Zolio said the availability and convenience of fast food restaurants “tainted” dietary decisions.
“We all work long hours, have families to look after and are chronically stressed and short for time. Can anyone blame us if we sneak in some take-away twice a week when things are a bit much?” he said.
“We know it’s not the best decision to make, but we do not exactly think about the long-term impacts of these decisions when we make them. Some of us even resign ourselves to the fact that pursuing a healthy lifestyle is beyond us in the never-ending rush of our daily lives.”
Later speaking to the DA, Mr Zolio said a line needed to be drawn.
“I would agree that it’s entirely in the individual’s realm about what choices they make, whether they eat healthy or not, but where do we draw the line?” he said.
“It has to be debated.
“We’ve got a brand new hospital in Wagga with a number of bariatric rooms. Do we want to get to the level where we need even more – thereby using more resources and taking away from other things?”
According to the Heart Foundation, the Riverina is the most obese region in the state. The organisation claims more than two thirds of the region does not get enough exercise.
Luigi Zolio’s letter to the editor
Much of the discussion around whether Wagga should get another fast food restaurant stems from the idea of individual freedom.
We, as rational beings deserve to choose what we eat and what kinds of lifestyles we live, and it is up to people to monitor their own habits despite what options may be available to them.
Unfortunately, this idea falls short of encompassing what it means to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Despite our capacity to make rational choices, availability and convenience inherently taint our decisions.
We all work long hours, have families to look after and are chronically stressed and short for time. Can anyone blame us if we sneak in some take-away twice a week when things are a bit much? We know it’s not the best decision to make, but we do not exactly think about the long-term impacts of these decisions when we make them.
Some of us even resign ourselves to the fact that pursuing a healthy lifestyle is beyond us in the never-ending rush of our daily lives.
I am a medical student. As health professionals, we will never judge you for your decisions. Can you imagine a world when we refuse to treat your mother for her heart attack because she “brought it on herself” after all of those years of smoking, no exercise and fast food?
Can you imagine a world where we refuse your father a dignified death under a palliative care service for his terminal lung cancer, because “he smoked a chimney and should have known better”?
Thankfully, this will never happen.
No matter your lifestyle choices, when you walk into the doctor’s office or the emergency department, you will deserve to be treated with respect and receive the best care that can be provided.
So to me, it does not make sense that as a population we are happy to allow ourselves to run our health into the ground.
We know that a diet high in saturated fats and sugars leads to heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Those three diseases often come together and spiral out into many other health problems and complications, which lead people to a slow and miserable death, filled with disability and suffering.
If you’re less sympathetic, these diseases rack up a huge bill to the tax payer.
These three killers are almost entirely preventable through lifestyle interventions.
Brief advice from your GP about exercising and eating healthy is very important, but if we live in a town where it is easier not to make bad choices, it becomes much easier to live a healthier life.
It’s a far cry to say it all starts from a cheeseburger or a donut, but it all comes down to promoting good and responsible decision-making for our population.
If we have lived this long without donuts, we can continue to do so and will be all the better for it.
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