Saturday, October 23, 2010

One more dose of Dinglemania

EoR promises that this is the last post in what has become a week of Celebration of Dinglemania...

Dr Peter Dingle's first ever newsletter no longer appears to be available on his informative, well-researched health advice website. Luckily, it can still be found here.

This is a valuable historical document, outlining the goals and aims of Dr Dingle's plans to change the world of health for the better of all ("my health and wellbeing programs" as he describes them).

All the familiar themes are there: the one dimensional health system ("The medical system needs to focus on preventative health rather than a 10 minute consultation for a drug 'solution'.") as well as the dubious factoids:

[W]e are seeing far too many children taking pharmaceuticals, both prescribed and over the counter. In Australia each month, 60,000 prescriptions for antidepressants are written out for people under 20 years of age.

No reference is provided, so the veracity of that figure can't be determined, but note how 'children' in one sentence becomes 'people under 20' in the next? EoR would hope that a first year university student would understand that comparing different populations is incorrect. A 19 year old would normally not be considered a child. Or an 18 year old. Where you draw the line between 'child' and 'adult' (or 'adolescent') is important, but not defined here, especially since it would be reasonable to presume that a lot of depression is diagnosed in the teenage years.

Back in 2005 things were also rather different (EoR's emphasis):

My research shows that many people don't become more active or eat more healthily because they think they don't have the time.

Contrast that to today, when Dr Dingle states he no longer has the time to do any sort of research. Also, like the previous factoid, he fails to mention where his 'research' has been published, or how it was conducted, or on what sample.

As an aside, it's also interesting to note that the metadata encoded in the Word document shows the author as Julie Eady, yet another unqualified person who regularly provides health advice to the media ("Consumer activist" and "housewife superstar" — note that Dr Dingle, even though not mentioned, has managed to get himself into the photo for that story). But what can you expect when Dr Dingle, Julie Eady and Dr Igor Tabrizian co-presented a Save Our Kids Seminar in 2006.

Presented by Dr Peter Dingle, Julie Eady & Dr Igor Tabrizian. A public seminar addressing the issues of “Averting the Child Health Crisis”. This is a must for anyone interested in the health of our future, our children. This includes invaluable information about prevention, food additives, biochemical causes and so much more.

Nope. No unqualified health advice being given there. He also provides a glowing testimonial for Julie Eady's book and is featured in the media together with her.

ASSOC PROFESSOR PETER DINGLE (MURDOCH UNIVERSITY): You know it's funny, all motivational texts will tell you what you focus on is what you get so we've focussed on calories, carbohydrates and fat and we now have the most overweight, obese and diabetic population ever.

So Dr Dingle bases his health claims on the authority of motivational texts? What sort of lunatic science is that?

The following year to his first newsletter (2006) Dr Dingle was warning us of the dangers of Vegemite. In a shockingly original finding, he claims that a Vegemite sandwich is not a "nutritious meal". That concept had probably never passed the mind of any Australian parent previously. But then, there are stupid and undeserving parents.

"If you don't have five minutes to cook a healthy breakfast for your kid and provide them with a healthy lunch and dinner, then you don't deserve to have kids,'' said Prof Dingle, associate professor in health and the environment at Murdoch University.

Dr Dingle: health expert and promoter of eugenics. Personally, EoR thinks if you don't have time to research improbable therapies like homeopathy, you don't deserve to act as a health expert.

Yesterday EoR noted Dr Dingle's promotion of Mindd but, of course, these woo-peddlers all promote one another. Indeed, in 2009, Dr Dingle was a presenter at the Mindd International Forum.

Renowned author, juggler, media personality and Murdoch University academic, Dr Peter Dingle PhD, explores the question of how the (mal)nutrition of our children sets the stage for childhood behavioural disorders including autism and ADHD, and how a healthy diet in childhood can provide a good alternative to Ritalin and amphetamine medications.

Well, he certainly wouldn't have been giving any health information there, would he?

So how is evil drug-peddling one-dimensional health failing us these days in relation to our childrens' health?

The South Australian and Western Australian Governments have been awarded a ‘Gold Medal’ for their action on obesity prevention at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the ANZOS in Sydney today.


“The South Australian and Western Australian Governments have made significant progress this year to topple Queensland, which has won the Gold Medal for the previous two years. What these three states share is strong leadership in policies to improve the food supplied in various important settings. They’ve gone beyond healthy food policies in schools, expanding into healthcare, government and sporting facilities. We would really like to see the other states and territories following this lead,” said Dr Peeters.

Dr Peeters also commends two Governments for initiating the implementation of progressive policies -Victoria’s kilojoule labelling in fast food outlets and the ACT’s legislation to increase competition between supermarkets in order to lower food prices. NSW is also recognised for its leadership in advocating for national restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods to children.


“Western Australia also has a strong bipartisan, whole of government approach, extending its influence through a range of initiatives such as its Premier’s Physical Activity Taskforce, monitoring and evaluation of population data and strong, evaluated social marketing campaigns such as ‘Draw the line’, ‘Go for 2 & 5’ and ‘Find 30 every day’,” said Dr Peeters.

ANZOS commends the Western Australian government’s excellent policy on food in public facilities, which it is now looking to be expanded to sporting venues, and its model of funding through the health promotion agency Healthway supporting reforms around sponsorship and food supply in sports settings.

So, while there is still a way to go, the multifactorial health approach seems to be working. Without the assistance of books from Dr Dingle, or homeopathy.

And here's a photograph of Dr Dingle in an extremely rare moment earlier this year (outside the Coroner's Court) when he wasn't giving health advice.

Dr Peter Dingle not giving health advice

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