On Tuesday 27th October, Dr. James Muecke AM, Australian of the Year 2020, gave the Annual Southgate Oration. Dr. Muecke traced the blindness he was seeing as an ophthalmologist from the rising rates of Type 2 diabetes, through to our increasing sugar and carbohydrate intake and then to the commercial determinants of our nutrition, including dietary guidelines, supermarket practices, and the political power of the food industry. He highlighted the need for advocacy and collective action to address these commercial determinants including to argue for reform of the Australian dietary guidelines, and push for a sugar tax. He suggests that the revenue from such a tax could then be spent on health promotion measures.
The Oration was chaired by College of Medicine and Public Health Vice President and Executive Dean Prof. Jonathan Craig. Prof. Fran Baum, Director of the Southgate Institute, gave the vote of thanks, noting the food industry as a commercial determinant of health, and praised Dr. Muecke for emphasising the food industry and structural drivers in driving sugar consumption, rather than focusing on individual behaviour.
The Oration (and the Southgate Institute) is named after Dr. Deane Southgate. Further information about Dr. Southgate can be found under ‘Who We Are – About Deane Southgate’ on the Southgate Institute website.
A recording of the Oration is available here.