16 March 2012
A sell-out internet coupon offer for a cheap burger and fries is set to clog the arteries of more than 500,000 Australians with close to 30 tonnes of total fat.
Diabetes WA General Manager Health Services Helen Mitchell said that the actual breakdown of fats, sugars, sodium and carbohydrates should be enough to frighten even the most devout fast-food lover.
To exercise away the combined total would take an even more incredible 6,597 days or 18 years.
“The $2 Hungry Jack’s whopper burger and fries offer sold to close to half a million Australians this week crashed the internet buying site and, if consumed at similar frenzied rates, could wreak untold damage on health and our health system,” she said.
“Diabetes WA started counting the toll when buying of the deal was at 507,340 people and the figures were staggering – and even more people went on to get coupons.”
Mrs Mitchell said that consumption of a whopper and small fries by 507,340 people equated to:
+ 26 tonnes of total fats
+ 7 tonnes of saturated fat
+ 5 tonnes of sugar
+ 611kg of salt, and
+ massive amounts of carbohydrates.
“To work off just one whopper and fries the average person would need to do 3 hours and 16 minutes of exercise,” Mrs Mitchell said.
“Extrapolate this to the purchase of 507,340 meal coupons and it translates into 158,333 hours or 6,597 days – a grand total of 18 years to work it all off.
“Consuming this single meal will, for the average person, account for big percentages of the total energy and nutrient levels needed for the entire day.”
Mrs Mitchell said that using the internet to market the meal deal was an effective method to reach technology savvy Gen Y, but Diabetes WA was concerned that vital information was omitted.
“Younger people use the internet and technology for just about everything,” she said.
“If they succumb to these types of viral marketing campaigns for fast food – in big numbers – without knowing the nutritional and health impacts of what they are eating, then that can become a significant health problem.
“If unchecked, a diet of cheap fast food could eventually lead those same young people to use the latest phone apps and technology to monitor their blood glucose levels – because they’ve developed Type 2 diabetes.”
25 Western Australians are diagnosed with diabetes every week – with obesity a leading factor in Type 2 diabetes.
Mrs Mitchell said that Diabetes WA joined other health groups in condemning promotion of such deals – particularly without accompanying, and essential, nutritional information.
“Unfortunately we work at the tail end of fast food deals such as this with Type 2 diabetes one of the nation’s fastest growing and preventable chronic diseases,” she said.
“It is our diabetes educators, help line and website that supports the thousands of Western Australians already diagnosed, and at risk of diabetes.
“Deals like this, when accompanied by frenzied buying lead ultimately to a fatter and less healthy community, which guarantees that our charity organisation will eventually see more people and their families affected by diabetes.