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Deakin University's role as a leader in the fight against obesity has been confirmed by the inclusion of Professor Boyd Swinburn as the only Australian on the McGill Think Tank on Obesity.
The Think Tank, sponsored by McGill University in Canada, also includes Bill Gates, former US President Bill Clinton and experts from five of the world's leading health NGO's including the World Health Organisation.
'It is an honour to be asked,' said Professor Swinburn, who is the professor for population health with Deakin's School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences.
'But more importantly this Think Tank, the biggest ever of its kind, is a sign that the message is getting through, that people throughout the world are aware that obesity in a major problem that has to be addressed swiftly. If we don't, the costs to future generations will be horrendous.'
Professor Pip Hamilton, Deakin's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), congratulated Professor Swinburn on his appointment.
'Boyd's work, along with many others involved in the obesity issue at Deakin like Professor David Crawford and Professor Greg Collier, has been pivotal in raising awareness at both government and community levels about the need for action.
'Deakin is well established to take a leadership role at both the national and international level.'
Professor Swinburn said market forces alone won't be enough to turn around the obesity epidemic.
'It will take government intervention in much the same way as has happened with tobacco,' he said. 'In fact I think using funds raised by taxing cigarettes would be a good source of revenue for obesity prevention programs.'
The McGill Think Tank on Obesity will be held in Canada in October.
Next week, Professor Swinburn leaves for England to begin work on the types of societal change programs that will be put to the Think Tank as part of the answer to the problems of obesity.
Media contact: Professor Boyd Swinburn 0407 539 941.