Dutch fries and fruit juice ban

By Chris Thomson | posted on July 7, 2018

WORLD-RENOWNED medical communicator Michael Mosley has told a Parliamentary committee that Western Australia should take heed of Amsterdam where “impressive” but “draconian” anti-obesity measures – including banning fruit juice from school and kids from buying fries at McDonald’s – have been implemented.

In an hour of evidence to State Parliament’s Education and Health Standing Committee on June 20, Dr Mosley said Amsterdam was “one of the few places on Earth getting it right”.

He said he was recently in the Dutch capital where obesity in children had been reversed, particularly in poorer communities that had seen a “spectacular” drop.

Dr Mosley said Amsterdam had a “very, very tightly planned strategy” with what some might regard as “quite draconian” measures.

Discussing fruit juice, which he said was widely thought to be good for children but in reality was “terrible”, he recounted how Amsterdam kids are forbidden from taking anything other than water or milk to school.

He explained that full fat milk instead had developed a “terrible” reputation for which there was no evidence.

Dr Mosley said if he were to encourage his children to drink anything it would be full fat milk, as low fat milk was processed more.

He added that, in Amsterdam, children are not allowed to buy fries at McDonald’s outlets near their schools, unless accompanied by their parents.

Flying solo, children are only allowed to buy an apple from the Golden Arches.

Dr Mosley said that in a further “draconian” move, Amsterdam banned McDonald’s and Coca-Cola from sponsoring sports events.

WA Country Health Service figures show that in the Great Southern 31.9 per cent of people aged 16 or over are obese, compared to 26.9 per cent for the state as a whole.

Dr Mosley said he was trying to persuade SBS and the BBC to help him make a documentary on diet and health in Australian Aboriginal communities.

After training in medicine, he embarked on a production career at the BBC.

He was nominated for an Emmy for a 1994 documentary on the Nobel Prize winning work Barry Marshall and Robin Warren produced at the University of Western Australia on gastric ulcers.