2007 - Robert Cushman, CEO of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network,
was very instrumental in implementing one of the first comprehensive smoking
bans in Canada -- the Ottawa experience that opened the way to provincial
smoking bans as we now know them in Canada. We illustrated in our tobacco
section at http://www.cagecanada.ca/index.php?pr=Tobacco
how unethically and immorally this pioneer smoking ban was implemented.
You will also find at: http://www.geocities.com/defendliberty2004/heathercrowe.html
the Heather Crowe story -- the story of the poster child for the Canadian
smoking ban campaign -- that also took its origins in Ottawa with Robert
Cushman’s assistance while he was the city’s medical officer of health.
Robert Cushman’s social engineering ambitions did not stop with smoking
following article that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen October 31st,
is more than enough to cause not only alarm but thorough indignation. The
good doctor is now pressing all Canadian doctors and the private industry to
play hardball with citizens who have "bad" habits. Considering
that we are presently witnessing a trend whereby doctors in England are
prepared to refuse an operation to smoking and obese patients until they stop
smoking or lose weight, considering that even in Canada there are doctors who
refuse to treat patients who smoke, considering that we have witnessed at least
one case where a doctor refused to prescribe medication to a patient under the
sole pretext that she’s a smoker right here in Quebec and that we’re witnessing
an ever growing number of employers refusing employment to candidates who
smoke on their own time -- the term ‘’social engineer’’ is a wholly inadequate
understatement. What Cushman is doing with his call to doctors and
private industries, is an incitement to intolerance and discrimination.
His current campaign, combined with the manner in which he implemented the
smoking ban in Ottawa, cause us to worry that he will continue to expand his
tactics by which he can control the lives of people whom he does not approve
apparently one fact that Cushman is forgetting when he states that ‘’ if
we're demanding a better performance from our doctors, our bureaucrats, our
nurses and our hospitals, it's about time we demanded a better performance from
our citizens ‘’. The public healthcare system, including the good
doctor’s salary, is not free. It is paid for through the taxes of we, the
very citizens whom he seems to disdain so. Like any other employee in any
given job or profession, those who chose this profession are fully
expected to perform efficiently for their pay. It is their duty as public
employees, to serve the us the citizens, not to dictate what lifestyles we may
or may not choose.
hardball with patients with bad habits, doctors urged
Thomson, The Ottawa Citizen
October 31, 2007
Cushman has been called a social engineer instead of a mere doctor, praised and
pilloried for delving into smoking and pesticide bans, needle exchange
programs, and bicycle helmet laws during his career in public service.
Now one of
Eastern Ontario's top health care officials, he has another target: Canadians
with unhealthy living habits who threaten to overwhelm the system as it
prepares for an onslaught of baby boomers living longer and demanding costlier
executive officer of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network wants
doctors to get tougher with patients and wants employers to take more
responsibility for the health of their workers.
said medical professionals need to place a higher premium on promoting
individual responsibility and risk factors to their patients -- especially
physical activity, weight, tobacco and alcohol.
need to get tougher on this," he said. "As a public health physician,
you get accused of social engineering when you look at a few regulations, but
education only goes so far. A lot of these things go backwards if you don't
professionals have been more timid on this than we have needed to be, because
we don't like to play hardball. We're nurturing and caring."
Cushman, who co-ordinates funding and delivery for more than 200 health care
providers from Cornwall to Deep River, was the Ottawa-Carleton region and City
of Ottawa medical officer of health from 1996 to 2005. From the outset, his
definition of "prevention" included poverty and other social factors
contributing to illness, making him one of the area's best-known public
helped the controversial indoor smoking ban take shape, supported a citywide
ban on cosmetic pesticides and battled former Ottawa police chief Vince Bevan
to preserve the city's crackpipe program in 2005.
Citizen editorial chided him for issuing policy comments on everything from
light rail to sport utility vehicles. But Dr. Cushman was unapologetic in his
role as a health advocate, warning Ottawa residents that same year that
physical inactivity was a major health risk facing the city.
network report last December reported that diabetes, asthma, smoking and heavy
alcohol use were all on the rise across the region, especially in poorer rural
had no shortage of personal examples during his Citizen meeting, starting with
the "illness behaviour" he often notices among the family and friends
of hospital patients.
weekend, he saw 10 teenagers in a row cycle past his house -- none wearing
helmets. This angered the man whose research and activism helped create a
mandatory under-18 helmet law in the early-1990s.
mentioned talking to the manager of his local hardware store about stocking
chocolate bars and candy on shelves a couple feet off the ground, hidden from
adults, but at the perfect eye level for a small child.
system belongs to us, we pay for it," Dr. Cushman said.
if we're demanding a better performance from our doctors, our bureaucrats, our
nurses and our hospitals, it's about time we demanded a better performance from
hopes the Champlain network and municipal public health departments can help
connect people to services ranging from gyms and personal trainers to social
wants the private sector to promote better wellness in the workplace, from
fitness equipment and employee assistance programs, to enforcing the boundaries
of outdoor smoking areas, to corporate taxes earmarked for health care.
think that corporations and businesses have a selfish vested interest in having
a healthy, happy workplace," said Dr. Cushman, adding that companies
benefit from publicly-financed health care when luring workers or maintaining
October 17, 2007 - De-normalization of the obese or even the slightly overweight is becoming a bitter scary reality.
With studies such as this one reported by the BBC, we are getting ever
and ever closer to some type of legislation against what they estimate to be an
unhealthy weight. It is rapidly and
steadily taking the form of the anti-tobacco campaign, including the notion
that obesity is contagious and therefore does not only harm the obese but their
friends and family members as well, as one epidemiological study suggested not
so long ago. It is amazing how they
absolve the individual from any responsibility by suggesting that obesity is
not the individual’s fault, yet it is in fact in that same country that the
public health care system refuses to operate on the obese unless they lose
weight. So which is it? Is it the individuals’ fault therefore they
should be punished, or is it a societal problem from which the individual
cannot escape? Of course they want to make us all believe that the individual is helpless, thus making it pefectly justifiable to push any laws destined to protect the ''helpless'' for their own good!
'not individuals' fault'
can no longer be held responsible for obesity and government must act to stop
Britain "sleepwalking" into a crisis, a report has concluded.
ever UK study into obesity, backed by government and compiled by 250 experts,
said excess weight was now the norm in our "obesogenic" society.
and comprehensive action was required to stop the majority of us becoming obese
by 2050, they said.
authors admitted proof that any anti-obesity policy worked "was
they said every level of society, from individuals to the upper echelons of
government, had to become involved in the campaign against a condition which
carried such great social and economic consequences.
those who were overweight or obese cost nearly £7bn in treatment, state
benefits and indirect costs such as loss of earnings and reduced productivity.
years' time, that figure could reach nearly £46bn, as health services struggle
to cope with the ill-health such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and stroke which
can be associated with excess weight.
is a danger that the moment to act radically and dramatically will be
missed," said Sir David King, the government's chief scientific adviser
and head of the Foresight Programme which drew up the report.
a problem that is getting worse every year
the authors concluded, was an inevitable consequence of a society in which
energy-dense and cheap foods, labour-saving devices, motorised transport and
sedentary work were rife.
Jebb of the Medical Research Council said that in this environment, it was
surprising that anyone was able to remain thin, and so the notion of obesity
simply being a product of personal over-indulgence had to be abandoned for
stress has been on the individual choosing a healthier lifestyle, but that
simply isn't enough," she said.
planning our towns to encourage more physical activity to placing more pressure
on mothers to breast feed - believed to slow down infant weight gain - the
report highlighted a range of policy options without making any concrete
was already working make healthier products available, the report noted, while
work was advanced in transforming the very make-up of food so it was digested
more slowly and proved satisfying for longer.
David said it was clear that government needed to involve itself, as on this
occasion, the market was failing to do the job.
Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said the government would be holding further
consultations to decide how to proceed.
She said it
was too early to say whether the same "shock" approach seen in public
health warnings against smoking would be adopted with obesity, or whether a tax
on fatty foods, highlighted in the report but widely dismissed as unworkable,
would be considered.
most important thing is there has to be public consent and understanding of the
issues you're trying to challenge," she said.
mandate for change will be difficult because it has to be preceded by an
understanding of the dangers of obesity."
the main aim now was to reduce the proportion of overweight and obese children
to 2000 levels by 2020.
British Heart Foundation (BHF) accused the government of backtracking on
promises, saying this was a "softer, more distant" target than one
originally proposed - to halt childhood obesity rates by 2010.
Royal College of Physicians said it thought the report was
emphasis on cross-governmental initiatives is particularly welcome, as is the
importance of addressing issues across society whilst avoiding blame,"
said its president, Professor Ian Gilmore.
and Drink Federation said it understood its role in tackling the problem.
industry is now widely recognised as leading the world when it comes to reformulating
products; extending consumer choice; and introducing improved nutrition
labelling," a spokesperson said.
2007 - There is something terribly wrong when a school substitutes the role of
the family physician and the parent, but what is even more disturbing is when a
parent considers that this practice would be acceptable had the reporting been done discretely. Let’s be very blunt about this: In our opinion, it is totally unacceptable
for our children to be routinely evaluated on a one to one basis for their body
weight in a learning institution,
unless we expressly consent otherwise. We don’t send our children to the doctor to
learn how to spell, why should it be compulsory that a school evaluates the
body mass index of our children especially when in the particular case in the following article, there
is nothing alarming about the weight of the child in question. Yes,
school officials, just like any other responsible citizen, do have a role to play
when they suspect that a particular child is being abused or neglected, but
this role should be limited to report these special cases to the school
psychologist or the social services agency and let these specialists take it up
with the parents or the proper authorities when necessary. When there is no sign of child neglect, abuse,
or noticeable health problems, routinely passing judgment on the child’s weight is
totally unwarranted, especially when it cannot be predicted what damage this
evaluation can cause to the child’s mental and psychological state of mind at
the vulnerable age when self esteem is of utmost importance. In today’s society where eating disorders afflict our children at ever younger ages, such practices are totally
irresponsible and parents should react vigorously against them if they ever became the
norm in their own child’s educational institution.
School sends home
obesity notices with students, parent upset
DENVER – In
an effort to combat the problem of childhood obesity, the Denver Public School
District is sending home student health reports to keep parents informed.
However, one parent says it should not have been sent home in her daughter's
backpack because she read it.
part that upset her the most as she started reading it, there it stated that
she was overweight and she started to cry saying, 'Mom, that school tells me
I'm fat.' So, it was very heart wrenching," said Flaurette Martinez.
Her daughter Isabel was sent home from the Centennial K-8 School on Monday with
the health notice. It listed her height, weight and body mass index – a measure
of body fat. Underneath the listing it had a marking next to the status
"My daughter is big boned," said Martinez.
Isabel's mother does not have a problem with what the schools are trying to do.
She says that type of sensitive information should be mailed directly home to
parents, because kids are prone to reading letters sent home by the schools.
"If she would have dropped this letter, a student may have found it and
may have exposed it to other students," said Martinez. "Anything
specific to the child should be mailed. It should not be given to the
However, DPS Spokesperson Alex Sanchez says schools do that all the time.
Report cards, disciplinary notices and letters from the principal are commonly
sent home with students. Sanchez says it is cheaper for the district to send
these things home with students instead of by mail.
Martinez says that decision is causing her daughter emotional distress.
"Most of the information that we get sent to us through the kids is
basically newsletters, but nothing this sensitive. This is a sensitive issue
for everybody," she said. "It's real upsetting for me to see her
worried so much about her weight issue when it's not really that big of a deal.
She's not that overweight."
DPS issued this statement Thursday afternoon: "In an effort to help ensure
our students' health, Denver Public Schools provides parents with their child's
hearing, vision, and body mass index (BMI) results in a sealed envelope that is
sent home with the students. DPS feels compelled to inform parents about these
very important health screening results and provide information about making
healthier choices. The health of our students is very important to us and we
wish to be part of the solution, given the nation's childhood obesity
9NEWS asked Martinez repeatedly if sharing Isabel's identity and her health
information will make things worse. Martinez wanted people to see her picture
so they would know Isabel is not that big. She also says the damage was already
done when she read the notice and she's talked to Isabel about addressing this
issue of sending the notices home with students. Martinez says her daughter is
OK with this information being released.
September 25, 2007 – The health nannies are busy making a living by scheming even more ways to save us from ourselves. They can suggest all they like and people can listen or not listen to them depending on one’s tolerance to risk, but it’s when these busybodies lobby government to turn their suggestions into laws, that it becomes an arrogant invasion to the sovereignty of our body. If we were to turn all these do-gooders’ advice into legislation, we would soon not be able to get out of bed without putting on a full armor first!
Horseback riders should wear helmets: researchers
Updated Mon. Sep. 24 2007 9:15 AM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
A new study wants to rein in the number of injuries caused by horseback riding.
Researchers at the University of Calgary have found that getting on the saddle is more dangerous than motorbiking, skiing, or playing football.
The researchers studied 7,941 trauma patients treated at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary between 1995 - 2005. The team discovered that 151 people were severely injured while horseback riding during that 10-year period, with 45 per cent of them requiring surgery.
They say that previous studies show the "hospital admission rate associated with equestrian activity is .49/1,000 hours of riding. The rate when motorcycle riding is merely .14/1,000 hours."
Most accidents occurred in "wide open spaces (45 per cent), and on relatively good footing surfaces (38 per cent dry dirt and 37 per cent uncultivated land), on sunny (87 per cent), summer (55 per cent) afternoons."
Many of the patients weren't new to horseback riding, and that has health specialists calling for safety changes to reduce the chances of serious injuries in the sport.
"One of the main things we found was a lot of the people involved in horse injuries were actually very experienced riders. Their average years of experience was actually 27 years," occupational therapist Jill Ball told CTV Calgary.
The experience of the riders is forcing researchers to rethink earlier assumptions about horseback riding injuries. Common assumptions held that many riding injuries were due to inexperienced riders or those who were riding during bad weather. The new study suggests that just isn't so.
Researchers say they want riders to strap on helmets and vests before mounting a horse -- no matter what their level of experience.
Only nine per cent of riders were wearing helmets when they were injured. Doctors and therapists say that if more riders wore protective gear, the number of head and chest injuries would be significantly reduced.
September 21, 2007 - The following is a perfect example of supply and demand in action. It is certainly not coercive feel-good policies that will change human behavior when the will of those affected is excluded from the equation.
Junk food trade soars at Manitoba high school
Updated Fri. Sep. 21 2007 11:30 AM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Smuggled snacks have become a growing problem at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg after a ban on selling junk food took effect.
The Winnipeg School Division's nutrition policy means neither the cafeteria, nor the vending machines have any treats available to fulfill a sugar fix.
But some students have found a way to satisfy the cravings, and make a few bucks in the process.
Julian Schioler is a Grade 12 student at Kelvin High School, and he and his friend Quinnton Daerden decided to go into business.
"I just sort of one day went out to Pharma Plus and bought two 12s of Coke and Sprite and just brought them back to school and started selling them, and then the next day, we were in business," Schioler told CTV Winnipeg.
Business is brisk, and the entrepreneurs often sell out.
"It's pretty good, we're making a lot of money," Daerden adds.
There is a fast food restaurant and convenience store in walking distance, but it takes too long to get there, according to one Kelvin student, Eric Parent.
"It's not worth the walk. If you're going to be here for lunch, it would take half an hour to go there and back, so it's not really worth it."
More than 70 people have joined a Facebook site called "Bring Back Sugar to Kelvin High School."
But school trustee John Orlikow told The Canadian Press that it's not a ban: "People can still bring their own. But we as a school division are not going to provide it."
The Winnipeg School Division told CTV Winnipeg the nutritional policies are based on provincial guidelines, and students who have an issue with them should take them up with the school principal.
With files from CTV Winnipeg's Jon Hendricks and The Canadian Press
September 11, 1007 - If there were still people out there that didn’t know that careless driving on motorcycles is dangerous, these health warnings right on the motorcycles ought to set them straight ! If this insane nanny tendency continues, it is almost a certainty that we will soon need warnings and instructions on how to inhale and exhale.
Health warnings for bikes
By Steve Farrell of MCN Motorcycle News
Politics & the law
11 September 2007 11:07
Consideration should be given to cigarette-style health warnings for motorcycles, campaign groups have said.
The warnings would contain messages such as: ‘Motorcyclists make up less than 1% of road traffic but suffer around 18% of deaths and serious injuries.’
Paige Mitchell, coordinator of the Slower Speeds Initiative, said warnings should be combined with new regulations limiting the power, weight and speed of motorcycles.
She said: “If health warnings were used to support regulation and make the basis of regulation more intelligible to the consumer, then clearly that would be a good thing.”
Roger Geffen, campaigns and policy manager for CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation, said: “Anything that helps raise awareness - that prompts people think about the risks not only that they’re taking for themselves but imposing on other people - has got to be worth exploring.”
Roger Geffen said stickers on bikes quoting motorcycle casualty figures and warning us to be careful would make a “more helpful message” than stickers telling us to wear crash helmets, which have in the past been placed on bikes by manufacturers.
He said: “If the feeling is that the motorcycle helmet sticker works to influence behaviour, then working to influence the speed at which motorcyclists ride would strike me as a much more important thing to do.”
The Slower Speeds Initiative and CTC were among eight campaign groups to sign a letter to MPs urging them to insist Government look at ‘downsizing’ bikes by limiting power, weight and speed.
July 20, 2007 - The following article from ‘’The Australian’’ clearly illustrates the dangers of public health campaigns that are addressed to populations at large without any consideration for individuals. We can only hope that these troublesome ‘’side effects’’ of public health messages will raise some red flags to the public health community to tune down their ‘’one fit all’’ campaigns and trust family physicians and parents to make the best decisions for their offspring’s particular needs.
One in five girls starve themselves
July 19, 2007
ALMOST one in five girls starve themselves or vomit up their food to control their weight, a new national survey has revealed.
The study of 8,900 children and adolescents has cited a dramatic rise in the number of girls aged 12 to 18 resorting to eating disordered behaviour like smoking and laxative abuse.
The results, collated from 57 schools, showed 18 per cent of girls had starved themselves for two-day stretches in an attempt to shed kilos.
This increased from 9.9 per cent reported in a study from 2000.
The research also found 11 per cent used vomiting for weight loss, up from 3.4 per cent.
And eight per cent of the girls said they had used cigarettes to deliberately suppress their appetite and control weight, up from just 2.4 per cent.
University of Sydney researcher Dr Jenny O'Dea said the findings seemed to represent a depressing new trend.
The constant publicity surrounding Australia's obesity epidemic may be driving more girls to take more drastic measures to slim down, she said.
“The slim ideal has become slimmer since the year 2000, and I think girls are still under a lot of pressure to get there quickly using these dangerous methods,” said Dr O'Dea, who will present the research at a nutrition conference in Brisbane tomorrow.
The problem was these methods don't work, she said.
“Studies have shown that girls who do this end up fatter because they're just setting themselves up for a binge,” Dr O'Dea said.
Fasting was very unhealthy and ineffective but other methods, particularly vomiting and laxative abuse, were life-threatening because they could induce a heart attack.
And smoking was a “dreadful” weight loss tool as it carried a whole new set of dangers, she said.
“Females have known for decades that smoking gives an `oral fix', but what an awful way to control weight.”
Dr O'Dea said the trend was occurring across all social classes, not only in wealthier white girls as was widely believed.
Affected girls also tend to be healthy weight or slightly overweight, but not obese.
Dr O'Dea said the findings showed the need for sensible, balanced weight messages in schools.
“We need to be very careful with the weight messages we give our girls because we can't have them going to these extremes,” she said.