Ita sends a weighty message about diet

Ita Buttrose with (left) MLC Donna Faragher and Rhonda Parker, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Australia WA.
Ita Buttrose with (left) MLC Donna Faragher and Rhonda Parker, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Australia WA.

She said Australians needed ‘in your face’ messages to communicate the importance of lifestyle choices on the prevalence of dementia and diabetes and that diet and physical activity choices formed a link between the two rapidly growing health epidemics.

Like the 20th century’s unforgettable HIV/AIDS grim reaper adverts, which Ms Buttrose said chilled her to the bone when she was chairwoman of the National Advisory Committee on AIDS in the 1980s, similarly strong messages were needed to halt obesity, a result of sustained unhealthy eating and a lack of physical activity.

‘It is possible to change people’s behaviour, Ms Buttrose said

‘The grim reaper campaign reduced rates of HIV infection and finally HIV/AIDS was something everyone knew about.

‘I think the time has come to tell people when they have a weight problem. Think before you eat. It’s time to be honest with ourselves. Ask yourself what sort of person you want to be.’

The event was also an occasion for East Metropolitan MLC Donna Faragher to announce a $410,000 State Government grant for Alzheimer’s Australia WA’s Dementia Friendly Communities Project.

It is an Australian first and it aims to empower those with dementia and their carers by shaping communities around their needs and aspirations, and removing the stigma and misunderstanding of the condition that affects so many people.