Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When Martin met Joan

Dr Martin Van Der Weyden. I first met him in the early 1980s – at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital where I worked in Medical Administration and he in the Haematology Department. He went on to become a Monash University Professor of Haematology in 1985. And since 1995 he’s been Editor of the Medical Journal of Australia [MJA]. (I went on to become a sheep and goat farmer.) I write of Martin today because in the current MJA issue he’s written a ripper of an editorial [1]. Martin described himself as ‘impatient, compulsive, a dreamer, tolerant, and ‘more left than right’, politically speaking’ [2]. It all shines through in this editorial. After quoting some horrid Aussie stats – up to 60% of adult Australians overweight or obese, 7½% of the total burden of disease and injury attributed to obesity, A$8.3B cost of obesity in 2008 – he proceeds to lament that the obesity epidemic’s ‘still not on the political radar’. Noting the weight explosion’s due to a mismatch between caloric consumption and energy expenditure, he points out society’s reluctance to heed the advice of Joan Collins: ‘The best exercise for losing weight is pushing yourself away from the table’. And to title his editorial he used the wry title of a recent Age editorial ‘Realistic about obesity? Fat Chance’. A few years older than I, Martin’s retiring in early 2011 [3]. As an MJA reader, I’ll miss him. I doubt I’ll be alone.

No comments: