September, 2019

Let’s protect, promote and support breastfeeding

Breastfeeding advocates around the world were appalled recently when the US refused to pass a run-of-the-mill World Health Organization resolution that encourages countries to “protect, promote and support” breastfeeding, instead electing to favour the interests of infant formula companies.
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Though the US is historically well known for prioritising commercial interests above public health outcomes, many agreed that this decision was next level.

Although in Australia we are more advanced in our thinking, there is still work to do. Despite wide acknowledgement of the strong health and nutritional benefits of breastfeeding, only about 15% of new mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the recommended six months (2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey).

In drafting its new ‘Enduring National Breastfeeding Strategy’, Australia has an opportunity to ensure that we “protect, promote and support” breastfeeding in tangible and meaningful ways. But what are the critical things we need to do, to ensure as many babies as possible get the healthiest start in life?

Regulating an industry that makes profits on the back of women choosing not to breastfeed is a good start. Although there’s no doubt that safe infant formula is essential for some families, we also need to acknowledge that the industry’s aim is to increase market share, not to promote infant health.

Messages around new mothers struggling with low milk supply, and toddlers needing ‘toddler milk’ to supplement their diets are both unhelpful and untrue. Only about 5% of women are unable to produce enough milk with the right help, and toddlers certainly don’t need commercial toddler milk.

We also need to realise that bottle feeding has become so normalised that many women seeking to breastfeed are missing out. More support for families, health professionals, workplaces and childcare centres will ensure that new mothers feel able to look after their newborn and master breastfeeding.

Australia’s new breastfeeding strategy covers all these points, and more. However, it doesn’t come with any funding to carry out the initiatives it put forwards.

While the infant formula industry is a US$45 billion global business, with the means to run slick publicity campaigns targeting parents and health professionals, breastfeeding advocates rely mainly on well-documented evidence to get their messages across.

If this new strategy is to have any impact, policymakers at all levels of government need to understand that Australians want funding for evidence-based public health promotion, not the promotion of commercial interests like in the US.

Associate Professor Lisa Amir is a Principal Research Fellow atLa Trobe University.


Hunter’s new Aussie rules

Black Diamond AFL officials remain open to the idea of continuingto run Australian rules competitions in the region next year despite AFL NSW-ACT indicating there will “definitely” be a new league established for2019.
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MARK: Warners Bay Bulldogs player Luke Roach keeps his eye on the ball earlier in the 2018 Black Diamond AFL season. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The ongoing power strugglebetween two of the sport’sgoverning bodies looks set to endure beyond September’s grand final and well into the off-season before striving towards a resolutionin time forround one next year.

AFL NSW-ACT northern NSW regional manager Simon Smyth told theNewcastle Heraldthis week that there“will definitely be a new AFL affiliated local league next year across junior-senior competitions”.

Smyth said this organisation would “be known as AFL Hunter-Central Coast”, essentially merging theseparate senior (Black Diamond AFL)and junior (AFL Hunter Coast) competitions, introducing anewly “elected” board, “investingin three full-time staff”and providing “additional resourcing and support”.

These changes could seethe Black Diamond AFL name disappear completely at an administration level, but potentially retained in a playing sense with first-grade teams still vying forthe Black Diamond Cup.

President of the current Black Diamond AFL board Wal Bembic said it was a difficult situation surrounded with uncertainty.

“We really hope the AFL [NSW-ACT] can produce a model that everyone is happy with, but at this stage we haven’t seen it,” Bembic told the Newcastle Herald.

“So if the clubs turnaround and aren’t buying what they’re selling and say they want us to keep running it, we will. It’s about doing what’s best for the clubs.”

Clubsmet last week independently of bothparties to discuss optionsbeyond the 2018 season andto help make sense of the proposals being puton the table.

An eight-person “transition working party” was revealed last week and Smyth said the group would be “responsible for supporting the efficient transition from the two existing leagues into the new local league”.

Bembic said he’s heard many people asking “why?”

“If the Black Diamond isn’t really broke, thendoes itneed fixing?” Bembic said.

During the last two seasons Black Diamond AFL have experienced issues with clubs Newcastle City, Terrigal Avoca and Cardiff over theplayer points systemand the controversial equalisation policy.

Amalgamation between the AFL Hunter Coast juniors and Black Diamond AFL seniors to a single governance model was voted down in March.

The Black Diamond AFL’s current affiliation agreement with AFLNSW-ACT expires on October 31.


Middle age teetotallers face dementia risk

Heavy drinkers and those that quit alcohol all together in middle age face higher dementia risks.A British study has drawn a link between giving up alcohol in middle age and a heightened risk of dementia.
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The study, published in The British Medical Journal, found those who drank over the recommended limits and those who became teetotallers in midlife were at an increased dementia risk.

The study looked at 9,000 public servants in London aged between 35 and 55 and began in the mid 1980s.

Researchers measured alcohol consumption for participants between 1985 and 1993, when they had an average age of 50 years.

This was then followed up for an average of 23 years, with cases of dementia identified through hospital, mental health services, and mortality records. A total of 397 cases of dementia were recorded.

Abstinence in midlife was associated with a 45 per cent higher risk of dementia compared with people who consumed between one and 14 units of alcohol per week.

The team of French and British researchers suggested that part of the excess risk of dementia in abstainers could be attributable to the greater risk of cardiometabolic disease reported in this group.

Among excessive drinkers – those who consumed more than 14 units per week – experts found a heightened risk of dementia which increased the more a person drank – they noted that with every seven units per week increase there was a 17 per cent increase in dementia risk.

“These results suggest that abstention and excessive alcohol consumption are associated with an increased risk of dementia, although the underlying mechanisms are likely to be different in the two groups,” the authors wrote.

Dr Tony Rao, an expert at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, warned the study’s results should be interpreted with a “high degree of caution”.

“The study tells us little about how drinking above low risk guidance beyond the of age of 55 affects the development of dementia,” Dr Rao said.

“We know that a third of older people with alcohol misuse develop this for the first time in later life.

“People with a history of heavy drinking who abstain for health reasons and those who under-report their drinking also makes it difficult to draw any firm conclusions.”

Guidance from the UK chief medical officer states that men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol each week – the equivalent of six pints of average strength beer.

Commenting on the study, Dr Sara Imarisio, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “As this study only looked at people’s drinking in midlife, we don’t know about their drinking habits earlier in adulthood, and it is possible that this may contribute to their later life dementia risk”.


Everybody stay cool

FISH OF THE WEEK: Darren Newell wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this mighty cod dragged out of Copetoun Dam last weekend.Paul “Ringo” Lennon fromFish Port Stephens Estuary Charters reports cool conditions up the bay, but fish about if you’re willing to put in the work.
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“The water is really cold in the estuary and that seems to have scattered the fish, but there’s been some good ones about,” Ringo said.

“Quality bream up to 40cm have been lurking around the rocks walls and oyster racks.

“We’ve seen the odd winter jew moving about from Corlette to Soldiers Point

“Tim Finch got one about 20lb (10kg) – nice little fish for winter.

“We’re seeing the odd winter flathead around if you can get a couple of nice warm days in a row.

“Plenty of tailor on the ocean beaches and a few salmon.

“Pick the high tides and head down with a few lures in the pocket to spin the beach. Sometimes you’ll get some big numbers if they school up.And there’s heaps of luderick and drummer on the rocks and around the breakwalls.

“Fish the tide change with good quality cabbage and you should have no probs getting your bag.”

Good snapperThere’s been some great snapper caught recently.

Adamstown Heights anglerAnthony Kloczko has been doing really well out of Swansea, while up the bay way, there’s been some quality coming off Seal Rocks and surrounds.

“It is a good time of year for snapper,” Ringo observed.

“August can be a bit slow as declining water temps kick in, but the snapper always seem to fire up.”

Wide actionBeen a few reports of tuna in the 600 to 1000 fathom mark this week, according to Ringo.

“A few yellowfin were few caught over the weekend with fish up to 30kg and there was one reported 60kg big eye. I’ve heard of kings getting jigged off Allmark Mountain and using live baits.The odd bar cod as well.”

Calamari capersLocal protected harbours and bays are proving to be havens for cracking big calamari.

“This time of year they breed up,” Ringo said.

“The big ones come in and the snapper and kings give them a hard time.”

Cod kingFish of the Week winner Darren Newell was singing the praises of Copeton Dam after his first ever Murray Cod mission last week.

“The son Nicholas took his old man up,” Darren reported.

“He’s been up there something like 10 times.

“Tell you what, it was cold, and the dam is down to 26 per cent.

“We fished Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and this was the only fish we got –on the Saturday morning session.

“There was a fair bit of bait around –little red fin – and you could hear the cod boofing them around the edges.

“The barometer was 1019, which I don’t know if that has anything to do with it.

“They say that ‘when the barometer’s 1020, the cod’s aplenty’. I’ll definitely be going back.”

Darren is a mad jewie fisho and reckons the Murray Cod puts up a different fight.

“The first few lunges they give you some, then you have to be careful dragging in that weight.”

When you look at the pic, you see what Darren’s talking about.

Hairtail talesRobert Gauta, manager of Newcastle Fish Co-op, has been in Sydney this week talking to relevant ministers about matters pertaining to commercial fishing –quotas on species, making sure things remain sustainable.

A notable observation from his trawlershas been the large number of big hairtail off Newcastle at the moment.

“You usually see them getting taken by hand off the wharves around Honeysuckle, but my guys have been getting heaps of them out in about 100 metres of water –five or six mile off the coast,” Robert said.

“It’s not very common but it does happen some seasons, and it’s been going on for a couple of weeks now.

“Fish four and five foot long. They school up like a big bait ball and it’s not unusual you get half a tonne in one shot.

“They’re not a bad eating fish and we’ve been selling them at the co-op.

“You get a good fillet off the back at that size and I just pan frymine up and it’s good.”

We’re coming towards the end of the king prawn season off Newcastle but next month may see school prawns back in swing.

“There’s asaying that goes you catch school prawns in months that contain the letter ‘r’,” Robert said.

Makes you realise how slow May, June and July are.

That’s the second wise proverb this fishing column, following Darren Newell’s “when the barometer’s 1020, the cod’s aplenty”.

If you’ve got any other ancient words of fishing wisdom, like “no run, no fun” or “if they’ve got roe, let ‘em go” send them in. Could make entertaining, and possibly educational, reading.

Send your fishingnews, views, clues and reviews to [email protected]南京夜网.au.


Kenny-Dowall savours great career milestone after surviving Warriors snub

Knights starShaun Kenny-Dowall doesn’t remember the name. Just the words.
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“We don’t think you are among the top 100 wingers going around so we are terminating you.”

They came from a New Zealand Warriors official toa 15-year-old Kenny-Dowall, who at the time, was chasing his NRL dream and making a three hour round trip twice a week to train in Auckland with the club.

The day after the devastating snub,he quit school and started saving up to move to Australia.

Now, remarkably, the player who finished second to Benji Marshall in the 2010 Golden Boot award and played 75 minutes with a broken jaw in the Sydney Roosters’ 2013 grandfinal triumph over Manly, runs out for NRL game number 250 when the Knights meet Wests Tigers on Friday night.

We can only wonder if a certain anonymous Warriors official will be watching.

Asked about the career milestone on the eve of the Tigers clash at McDonald Jones Stadium, Kenny-Dowall 30, said:

“There has been a lot of hard work and sacrifice and plenty of highs and lows as well. I feel a great sense of achievement having made it this far.

How good: Knights winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall is over the moon after scoring the match-winning try against the Gold Coast a fortnight ago at McDonald Jones Stadium.

“I’ve been very blessed to play 250 games and I’m still going so very happy.

“It’s been quite a journey and I’m really looking forward to getting out there on Friday night.”

After 11 seasons and 224 NRL games with the Roosters, Kenny-Dowall says the change of clubs last season has reinvigorated his career.

“It’s been a great move for myself. I really love this place,” he said.

“It’s a different drive and a different environment. Newcastle is a building club but it’s a very proud club and I’ve worked out living here how much it means to the town and the fans and I’ll wear that jersey with pride every time I wear it.”

Ironically, the last time these two sides met, the Knights winger was the hero, scoring the match-winning try in the final minute off a Jamie Buhrer cross-kick at Tamworth’s Scully Park.

READ MORE: Newcastle KnightsThe Tigers, spearheaded by veterans Marshall and Robbie Farah and the power of their props Ben Matulino and Russell Packer,will be looking for some payback as both sides attempt to keep their slim play-off hopes alive.

The Knights suffered a major blow on Thursdaywith five-eighth Connor Watson ruled out for a second straight week with a groin injury. Jack Cogger will deputise again.

Fullback Kalyn Ponga did not train with the rest of the squad duringthe captain’s run with his ankle still causing concern but is still rated a chance of playing.