Health round-up: Gaming addiction, food stars and medical specialists

Richard Laycock 4 January 2018 NEWS


A weekly round-up of Australia's latest healthcare news.

Gaming addiction may be a mental health disorder

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a draft of its 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which will include a condition called "gaming disorder".

While this is just a draft report, it states that someone with a gaming disorder displays a "pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour". This behaviour impairs a persons ability to function in a range of personal, social, professional and other important areas.

Symptoms include someone not being able to control their ability to play games, someone that placing gaming before other important interests or activities and continuing to play games despite negative occurrences.

Food star ratings are helping consumers make better choices

Those food star ratings on the front of food packaging are helping Aussies make healthier choices, according to researchers from Curtin University.

The study, which looked at various front-of-pack labels, found that the Health Star Rating resulted in 40% respondents selecting the healthier variant. The Health Star Rating system also encouraged a greater number of respondents were willing to pay for the healthier option.

It is hoped that these results will inform choices made by policymakers when choosing the type of front-of-pack labels that are most likely to have a positive health outcome.

Aussies avoiding medical specialist because of cost

Over 7% of Aussies have either not seen or put off seeing a medical professional in the last year because of cost, according to The Australian.

The data, gathered from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) annual health experiences survey, backs up findings from a survey conducted in May 2017 that found 41% of Aussies had avoided seeing a medical specialist at some point in the past because of the cost.

Surprisingly, the survey found that women (47%) were more likely than men (35%) to avoid seeing a medical specialist because of cost.

What else is happening?

Do you know what chemicals are in your sunscreen? Well, one sunscreen manufacturer is petitioning the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to make it compulsory to list ingredient on the labels of sunscreens in Australia.

"At the moment, sunscreens do not have to show all of their ingredients – only the 'active' ingredients and 'preservatives' need to be on the labels. The majority of ingredients are hidden,” founder of MooGoo Skin Care Craig Jones said in a statement.

Jones said that this is very dangerous, especially for those with allergies.

Each week our round-up offers a summary of the latest developments impacting Australian healthcare and most importantly, you, the consumer. Check in every Thursday to find out what's happening in health.

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