UN, WHO, Lancet report says every Australian child under threat from climate, poor diet

This is just more Green/Left propaganda from the usual suspects.  It's an enchiridion of Green/Left moans.  "The Lancet" is highly political. It criticized the Iraq war and is very "Green". And the less said about the UN the better.

If Australia is such an unhealthy environment, how come it has  one of the world's longest life-expectancies?  That's the bottom line

Australia has been singled out for scathing criticism by the World Health Organisation for threatening the future of its children through disproportionately high carbon emissions, undermining positive scores in child health, socio-economic equity and education.

A major joint report by the WHO, UNICEF and the scientific journal The Lancet concludes the future of children around the world, including Australia, is being threatened by ecological degradation, climate change and predatory marketing practices that drive obesity.

Australia’s children were ranked 20th in the world on a ‘flourishing’ index, which takes into account poverty, health, education and protection from violence, but Australia’s performance on an index of sustainability was dire, with a rank of 174 out of 180 countries.

The poor sustainability rank was driven by high CO2 emissions per head of population, with the WHO estimating that Australia’s emissions would be 524 per cent above a global target by 2030.

It’s the first time the WHO has included a country’s sustainability score as a measure of the future wellbeing of children. The report says if global warming exceeds 4 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 in line with current projections, “it would lead to devastating health consequences for children, due to rising ocean levels, heatwaves, proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, and malnutrition.”

The nations ranked top in the world on the score of child flourishing were Norway, South Korea and the Netherlands. The flourishing index measures the mortality of children younger than five years old, access to child and maternal health services, basic hygiene and sanitation, growth and nutrition, prevalence of extreme poverty and educational achievement.

However, the report – compiled by a Commission of 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world – found that no single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures.

Co-chair of the Commission, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, said children were facing future “existential threats”.

“Despite improvements in child and adolescent health over the past 20 years, progress has stalled, and is set to reverse,” Ms Clark said. “Every child worldwide now faces existential threats from climate change and commercial pressures.

“Countries need to overhaul their approach to child and adolescent health, to ensure that we not only look after our children today but protect the world they will inherit in the future.”

Australian academic Peter Sly, Director of the Children’s Health and Environment Program from the University of Queensland, was a local author of the report. He singled out excessive exposure of Australian children to fast food and gambling advertisements for particular criticism.

The report found children’s exposure to predatory commercial marketing of junk food and sugary beverages is associated with purchase of unhealthy foods and overweight and obesity. The number of obese children and adolescents increased from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016 – an 11-fold increase, with dire individual and societal costs. An estimated 28 per cent of Australian children are overweight or obese.

“The various governments and regulators responsible need to impose restrictions that truly protect children,” Professor Sly said. “Self-regulation is not working and did not work with the tobacco industry. A complete ban on advertising for all forms of alcohol and all forms of gaming during any program, including all sporting events likely to be watched by children, broadcast before 8:30 pm will be required to protect children. We did it for tobacco, so why not alcohol and gambling?”

The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the landmark report was a “wake-up call”.

“This report shows that the world’s decision makers are failing today’s children and youth: failing to protect their health, failing to protect their rights, and failing to protect their planet,” Dr Tedros said. “This must be a wakeup call for countries to invest in child health and development, ensure their voices are heard, protect their rights, and build a future that is fit for children.”

Local academics responded to the report by saying Australia had been “disgraced” on the world stage.

Anthony Okely, a researcher in child health and education at the University of Wollongong, said the report should concern Australian politicians.

“While we like to believe we are putting our children first and meeting their needs, our ranking on the Sustainability Index shows that our actions are not meeting our words,” Professor Okely said.” Australia’s very low score on this index is eroding many of the advances we have made in ensuring our children are flourishing.

“Our children are growing up in environments that are not supporting their right to an active, healthy life. The high levels of child obesity testify to this. Children are living more sedentary lifestyles, spending large amounts of time using electronic media for entertainment. This exposes them to marketing of unhealthy foods, displaces time they could spend being physically active, and compromises healthy sleep patterns.”

Liz Hanna, an academic at the Australian National University who also chairs the Environmental Health Working Group at the World Federation of Public Health Associations, said it was no wonder young people around the world were organising mass protests.

“This rigorous study married the voices of children with global metrics,” Dr Hanna said. “It further explains why the world’s children are uprising, demanding governments protect their future.

“Australia’s poor ranking provides powerful evidence that Australia has lost its way. Ranking 174th out of 180 countries on the Sustainability Index is as shameful as it is stupid.

“Decades of wilful neglect of the environment and the erosion of compassion have transformed the lucky country to an international laggard that is failing its children. By taking our natural advantages for granted, Australia is squandering its opportunities to secure a safe and healthy future for our children.

“Pandering to the sugar industry, and refusing a sugar tax, needlessly renders children at high risk of obesity, diabetes and a life plagued by chronic disease and disability.

“Similarly, steadfastly clinging to fossil fuel industries, against solid scientific evidence, unfolding climatic crises and environmental degradation knowingly accelerates climate change and robs children of their future.”


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