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Beyond the spin, beyond the handouts, here’s how to get a handle on what’s really happening on budget night

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>Three weeks from now, some of us will be presented with a <a href="https://budget.gov.au/">mountain</a> of budget papers, and just about all of us will get to hear about them on radio, TV or news websites on budget night.</p> <p>The quickest way to find out what the budget is really doing will be to listen to the treasurer’s speech, or to peruse online the aptly-named “<a href="https://treasury.infoservices.com.au/page/budget2023">glossy</a>” – a document that last year was titled “<a href="https://archive.budget.gov.au/2023-24/overview/download/budget_overview.pdf">Stronger foundations for a better future</a>”.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/589444/original/file-20240422-23-vkinrm.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/589444/original/file-20240422-23-vkinrm.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=237&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/589444/original/file-20240422-23-vkinrm.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=848&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/589444/original/file-20240422-23-vkinrm.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=848&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/589444/original/file-20240422-23-vkinrm.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=848&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/589444/original/file-20240422-23-vkinrm.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=1066&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/589444/original/file-20240422-23-vkinrm.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=1066&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/589444/original/file-20240422-23-vkinrm.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=1066&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="Cover of 2023 budget glossy" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Glossies are used to make each budget attractive.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://archive.budget.gov.au/2023-24/overview/download/budget_overview.pdf">Commonwealth Treasury</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>But they will tell you exactly what the government wants you to hear, exactly as it wants you to hear it.</p> <p>If you are looking instead for the truth – what the government is actually trying to achieve and what it is holding itself and its officials to, I would suggest something else, tucked away on about page <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/3225/8787.pdf">87</a> of the main budget document.</p> <p>It is required by the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/C2004A05333/latest/text">Charter of Budget Honesty Act</a> introduced in 1998 by Peter Costello, the treasurer under Prime Minister John Howard.</p> <p>On taking office in 1996, Costello set up a <a href="https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20101119021633/http://www.finance.gov.au/archive/archive-of-publications/ncoa/execsum.htm">National Commission of Audit</a> to examine the finances he had inherited from the Hawke and Keating governments, presumably with an eye to discovering they had been mismanaged.</p> <p>But the members of the commission weren’t much interested in that. Instead, they decided to deal with something more fundamental.</p> <h2>Budget as you wish, but explain your strategy</h2> <p>Governments were perfectly entitled to manage money in whatever way they wanted, and they were perfectly entitled to spend more money than they raised (which they usually do, it’s called a <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/deficit.asp">budget deficit</a>).</p> <p>What the commission wanted was for governments to make clear what they were doing, and to spell out the strategy behind it.</p> <p>Only part of it was about being upfront with the public. The commission also wanted governments to be upfront with themselves – to actually develop frameworks for what they were doing, rather than doing whatever they felt like.</p> <p>The commission recommended a <a href="https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20101119021633/http://www.finance.gov.au/archive/archive-of-publications/ncoa/execsum.htm">Charter of Budget Honesty</a>, which among other things requires officials to prepare independent assessments of the finances before each election, requires budget updates six months after each budget, and requires <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook45p/TaxExpenditures">tax expenditures</a> (tax breaks) to be accounted for like other expenditures.</p> <p>And it requires the publication and regular updating of a <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/3227/CBH_Fiscal_strategy.pdf">fiscal strategy statement</a>.</p> <h2>Where treasurers hold themselves accountable</h2> <p>The <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/3225/8787.pdf">fiscal strategy</a> can be thought of as an exam question set by the student who is being examined – something along the lines of “this is what you say you want your budget to achieve, please set out the means by which you plan to achieve it”.</p> <p>It turns out to have been exceptionally effective in getting governments to organise their thoughts, make budgets at least try to achieve something, and let the rest of us know what they are trying to achieve.</p> <p>Every few years, treasurers change the strategy, as is their right. Treasurer Jim Chalmers says he’ll change it again this budget, to de-emphasise the fight against inflation and to more greatly emphasise the need to <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/transcripts/press-conference-washington-dc-0">support economic growth</a>.</p> <p>His statement will tell us what’s behind his actions in a way the glossy words in his brochure and speech might not.</p> <h2>The strategy that has signposted 26 years</h2> <p>Previous statements have signposted all the important turns in what the budget is trying to do.</p> <p>The first, in <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/589686/original/file-20240423-16-rncqg3.PNG">1998</a>, committed Costello and Howard to achieving a budget surplus on average over the economic cycle and whenever “growth prospects remain sound”.</p> <p>Making that commitment more difficult was another “not to introduce new taxes or raise existing taxes over the term of this parliament”.</p> <p>Two years later, after the government had won an election promising a new goods and services tax, that commitment was <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/589692/original/file-20240423-18-q843xn.PNG">changed</a> to “no increase in the overall tax burden from its 1996-97 level”, a condition met by calling the GST a state tax.</p> <h2>Hockey and Morrison wound back spending</h2> <p>The Labor budgets from 2008 <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/589702/original/file-20240423-18-mikx6f.PNG">loosened</a> the tax target to the <em>average</em> share of GDP below the reference year, which they changed to the higher-tax year of 2007-08.</p> <p>The first Coalition budget under Treasurer Joe Hockey in 2014 changed the target from tax to spending, pledging to bring down the ratio of <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/589705/original/file-20240423-16-9spkdy.PNG">payments to GDP</a>, and pledging a surplus of 1% of GDP by 2023-24.</p> <p>Any new spending would be more than offset by cuts elsewhere, and if the budget did receive a burst of unexpected revenue it would be “banked” rather than spent.</p> <p>In 2018 Treasurer Scott Morrison reintroduced tax as a target, that he spelled out precisely. Tax was not to increase beyond <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/589706/original/file-20240423-16-b7gj5d.PNG">23.9%</a> of GDP.</p> <h2>During COVID, Frydenberg spent big</h2> <p>In 2020, in the face of a COVID-induced recession and soaring unemployment, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg pushed the old strategy to one side.</p> <p>They would spend big now to keep the economy afloat so they wouldn’t have to spend more bailing it out later, and they wouldn’t return to their old concern about the deficit until the unemployment rate was “<a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/3228/fs2020.pdf">comfortably below 6%</a>”.</p> <p>So well did they succeed that in 2021 Frydenberg made the momentous decision to keep going, abandoning the promise to return to worrying about the deficit when unemployment fell below 6%.</p> <p>Instead he promised to keep spending big until unemployment was “<a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/589709/original/file-20240423-16-9pmpaf.PNG">back to pre-crisis levels or lower</a>”.</p> <p>The decision propelled unemployment down to a 50-year low of <a href="https://www.datawrapper.de/_/wPfXO/">3.5%</a>.</p> <p>Along with high iron ore prices, that one change of strategy has probably helped deliver Chalmers two consecutive budget surpluses – the one he announced last year for 2022-23, and the one he is set to announce this year for 2023-24. More of us have been in jobs <a href="https://www.finance.gov.au/publications/commonwealth-monthly-financial-statements/2024/mfs-january">paying tax</a>, and fewer have been out of jobs <a href="https://theconversation.com/half-a-million-more-australians-on-welfare-not-unless-you-double-count-227342">on benefits</a>.</p> <p>It’s a powerful demonstration of the real-world difference budget decisions can make, and the way in which the <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/3225/8787.pdf">fiscal strategy</a> tells the story.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228387/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, Visiting Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/beyond-the-spin-beyond-the-handouts-heres-how-to-get-a-handle-on-whats-really-happening-on-budget-night-228387">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Hospice nurse reveals six unexplainable "death bed phenomena"

<p>Hospice nurse Julie McFadden has lifted the lid on six unexplainable "death bed phenomena" that occur within a person's last weeks of life. </p> <p>The LA-based nurse, who specialises in end of life care, explained that as a person nears the end of their life, they will experience a range of unusual things, including hallucinations, random bursts of energy and even choosing when they're going to die. </p> <p>McFadden once again took to her YouTube channel to educate people on what happens when you're on your death bed, detailing each of the six strange occurrences. </p> <p>Julie explained that patients often experienced "terminal lucidity", "hallucinations", "death stares", and more in their final weeks. </p> <p>She began by explaining the first wild thing that happened at the end of life was terminal lucidity, in which people get a "burst of energy" in the days before they die, sharing that it happens "very often". </p> <p>She said, "Just enjoy it and expect that maybe they will die soon after because that's the kicker with terminal lucidity, it looks like someone's going to die very soon then suddenly they have a burst of energy."</p> <p>"They maybe have a really great day, they're suddenly hungry, they're suddenly able to walk, they're suddenly very alert and oriented, and then shortly after usually a day or two they will die, so that can be the hard part if you're not ready for it, if you don't know what's coming you can think they're getting better and then they die, which can be very devastating."</p> <p>Julie then described how most people in their final days will encounter "death visioning" or "hallucinations", as many people describe seeing the ghosts of loved ones in their final days. </p> <p>"I wouldn't have believed it unless I saw it for myself over and over again," the nurse admitted. </p> <p>"Number three, this is really crazy - people choosing when they're going to die. I have seen some extreme cases of this, people just saying, 'Tonight's when I'm going to die I know it, I can feel it,' and they do. There's also a time when people will wait for everybody to get into town or get into the room arrive at the house whatever it is and then they will die," the nurse explained. </p> <p>The fourth phenomena is known as the "death reach", according to Julie.  </p> <p>She explained, "It's when the person's lying in bed and they reach up in the air like they're seeing someone or they're reaching for someone either to hug them or to shake their hands. A lot of times they'll hold their hands up for a long time, like they're seeing something that we're not seeing and they're reaching for someone that we can't see."</p> <p>Julie then listed "number five is the death stare," explaining that the death stare and the death reach often "go together". </p> <p>"It usually looks like someone is staring off into the corner of the room or the side of the room basically looking at something intently, but if you're snapping your finger in front of their face or trying to say their name to kind of snap them out of it, they won't," she said.</p> <p>The last wild thing the nurse has seen is known as a "shared death experience" and is "most impactful", according to Julie. </p> <p>She explained, "A shared death experience is when someone who is not dying feels or sees or understands what's happening to the person who is dying."</p> <p>"It's kind of like the dying person gives you the sensation of what they're going through. From what I experienced, it was a very good feeling. It was like the person was giving me these feelings of freedom and joy and kind of telling me that they were okay."</p> <p>"At the time, I was shocked, I didn't know what was happening, but I've come to find out that that's called a shared death experience."</p> <p><em>Image credits: YouTube / Instagram </em></p>

Caring

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6 little known facts about The Sound of Music

<p>The Sound of Music, released in 1965, continues to be one of the most beloved family films of all time. In honour of the iconic film, we look behind the scenes to reveal some little known facts about one of our favourite movies.</p> <p><strong>1. Julie Andrews kept falling over during the famous opening mountain scene</strong></p> <p>While Julie Andrews may look graceful twirling atop the mountain in the opening scenes, in reality she kept being knocked over by the draft of the helicopter trying to capture the iconic aerial scene. Andrews said: “the down draft from those jets was so strong that every time… the helicopter circled around me and the down draft just flattened me into the grass. And I mean flattened. It was fine for a couple of takes, but after that you begin to get just a little bit angry… And I really tried. I mean, I braced myself, I thought, ‘It’s not going to get me this time.’ And every single time, I bit the dust.”</p> <p><strong>2. Christopher Plummer hates the movies</strong></p> <p>Fans of Christopher Plummer’s Captain von Trapp will be disappointed to learn that he hated the film so much he called it “The Sound of Mucus”. “Because it was so awful and sentimental and gooey,” he said. “You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some minuscule bit of humour into it.” To ease his pain, Plummer drank, even on set. He admitted on the DVD commentary that he was drunk when filming the Austrian music festival scene.</p> <p><strong>3. Charmian Carr injured herself during “Sixteen going on seventeen”</strong></p> <p>Charmian Carr, who played Liesl Von Trapp, slipped while leaping from a bench in the gazebo scene. She fell through the glass and injured her ankle. In the scene, she is wearing a bandage on her leg, which is covered by make up.</p> <p><strong>4. Friedrich grew 15 centimetres during the six months of filming  </strong> </p> <p>Nicholas Hammond, who played Friedrich Von Trapp, grew from 1.60 metres to 1.75 metres in the six months of filming. It caused many continuity problems in the movie as Friedrich had to be shorter than Liesl but taller than Louisa. As the beginning of the film, Hammond had lifts in his films but by the end, Carr who played Liesl had to stand on a box.</p> <p><strong>5. Mia Farrow auditioned for the role of Liesl.</strong> </p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://youtu.be/66v7gtwRGdM" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Watch her audition tape here.</a></strong></span></p> <p><strong>6. The film is historically inaccurate</strong></p> <p>The movie is loosely based on the autobiography of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, but the film took many liberties. For instance, there were 10 von Trapp children, not seven. Maria left the convent to tutor one of the children, not to governess all them. Georg was a kind man, not the stern disciplinarian as depicted the film. Maria and him were married 11 years before the Nazis invaded Austria. And the Von Trapp family didn’t escape from the mountains by crossing over the mountains – that would have led straight to Hitler’s Germany.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Movies

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Insider spills on Robert Irwin's plans for I'm a Celeb

<p>Robert Irwin received rave reviews for his co-hosting skills alongside Julia Morris on this year's<em> I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here</em>, but an insider has claimed that he won't be returning for another season.  </p> <p>"His easygoing and faultless live TV skills have won over the nation. But his career at Ten will only be short-lived, and he is heading back to Seven," a source told <em>Woman's Day</em>. </p> <p>The negotiation is believed to have been orchestrated by the ultimate "mumager" Terri Irwin. </p> <p>"The Irwins are very smart when it comes to negotiations," the insider added. </p> <p>The source also claimed that Robert's decision to join<em> I'm a Celebrity</em> was seen as a one-off opportunity to elevate his television profile - which he has achieved after bringing fresh energy into the show. </p> <p>Channel Seven is reportedly keen to welcome Robert back with a massive deal, according to the source. </p> <p>"Seven want Robert back and have thrown a king's ransom at him," they said.</p> <p>If the deal goes through, Julia Morris will have to find a new partner to head to the jungle with. </p> <p>Many fans have praised Robert for bringing some fun into the jungle. </p> <p>"I have not ever been keen on watching this show but Robert you have brought some class and good honest fun to the jungle. Thank you," one fan wrote under a clip of the show's grand finale that Robert posted on his Instagram. </p> <p>"How awesome was Robert? This gig was like it was made for him. What a natural," another added. </p> <p>"Best year of I'm a Celebrity, and it was because you added something to the show as Co-Host. Brilliant job for somebody with no experience but with a lot to give," commented a third. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

TV

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“Makes me proud”: Coles applauded for Anzac Day display

<p>An impressive Anzac Day display at a Coles supermarket has received a flood of attention, with many quick to praise the supermarket for the tribute. </p> <p>The display, situated at the entrance of the Annandale Coles store in Townsville, Queensland, features a large statue of a veteran surrounded by poppies and a “Lest We Forget” flag, and countless packets of Anzac biscuits for customers to enjoy. </p> <p>The worker who created the display said the tribute was in honour of her father: a war veteran. </p> <p>The Queensland store is also situated opposite the Lavarack Barracks in Townsville, the largest army base in Australia.</p> <p>A photo of the display was posted online by a Coles shopper and quickly went viral. </p> <p>“Coles Annandale Townsville. Huge display right as you walk in, brilliant!” the shopper wrote.</p> <p>“Take note, Woolworths.”</p> <p>The comments are in reference to <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/pauline-hanson-slams-woolies-controversial-anzac-day-decision" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Woolworths</a> saying they are not doing anything special for Anzac Day this year, other than selling charity pins for the RSL and selling Anzac biscuits, which are available all year round. </p> <p>Many social media users were elated by the display, sharing their comments to praise the supermarket's efforts. </p> <p>One person said, “Bloody well done Coles - too much Aussie stuff being constantly eroded," while another wrote, “Great respect for our Diggers Thank you Coles Annandale Townsville.”</p> <p>One more added, “That is great. As a veteran it makes me proud.”</p> <p>Despite Woolies announcement about this year's lack of Anzac Day fanfare, shoppers said that they’d seen similar displays at other supermarkets around the country.</p> <p>“My local Woolies has Anzac biscuits and all the Anzac badges on a big display just as you walk in the door,” said one.</p> <p>Another added, “Woolies Maryborough has a similar display!”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p> <p class="css-1n6q21n-StyledParagraph e4e0a020" style="box-sizing: border-box; overflow-wrap: break-word; word-break: break-word; margin: 0px 0px 1.125rem; line-height: 25px; font-size: 1.125rem; font-family: HeyWow, Montserrat, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; caret-color: #292a33; color: #292a33;"> </p>

Caring

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Good news: midlife health is about more than a waist measurement. Here’s why

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rob-newton-12124">Rob Newton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>You’re not in your 20s or 30s anymore and you know regular health checks are important. So you go to your GP. During the appointment they measure your waist. They might also check your weight. Looking concerned, they recommend some lifestyle changes.</p> <p>GPs and health professionals commonly <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-body-mass-index-cant-tell-us-if-were-healthy-heres-what-we-should-use-instead-211190">measure waist circumference</a> as a vital sign for health. This is a better indicator than body mass index (BMI) of the amount of intra-abdominal fat. This is the really risky fat around and within the organs that can drive heart disease and metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>Men are at greatly increased risk of health issues if their waist circumference is <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/311/7017/1401">greater than 102 centimetres</a>. Women are considered to be at greater risk with a waist circumference of <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/311/7017/1401">88 centimetres or more</a>. More than <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/waist-circumference-and-bmi/latest-release">two-thirds of Australian adults</a> have waist measurements that put them at an increased risk of disease. An even better indicator is waist circumference divided by height or <a href="https://www.baker.edu.au/news/in-the-media/waist-height-ratio#:%7E:text=According%20to%20research%2C%20a%20healthy,the%20highest%20risk%20of%20disease.">waist-to-height ratio</a>.</p> <p>But we know people (especially women) have a propensity to <a href="https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(19)30588-5/abstract">gain weight around their middle during midlife</a>, which can be very hard to control. Are they doomed to ill health? It turns out that, although such measurements are important, they are not the whole story when it comes to your risk of disease and death.</p> <h2>How much is too much?</h2> <p>Having a waist circumference to height ratio larger than 0.5 is associated with greater risk of chronic disease as well as premature death and this applies in adults of any age. A healthy waist-to-height ratio is between 0.4 to 0.49. A ratio of 0.6 or more <a href="https://www.baker.edu.au/news/in-the-media/waist-height-ratio#:%7E:text=According%20to%20research%2C%20a%20healthy,the%20highest%20risk%20of%20disease">places a person at the highest risk of disease</a>.</p> <p>Some experts recommend <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41574-019-0310-7">waist circumference be routinely measured in patients during health appointments</a>. This can kick off a discussion about their risk of chronic diseases and how they might address this.</p> <p>Excessive body fat and the associated health problems manifest more strongly during midlife. A range of social, personal and physiological factors come together to make it more difficult to control waist circumference as we age. Metabolism tends to slow down mainly due to decreasing muscle mass because people do <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcb.25077">less vigorous physical activity, in particular resistance exercise</a>.</p> <p>For women, hormone levels begin changing in mid-life and this also <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/13697137.2012.707385">stimulates increased fat levels particularly around the abdomen</a>. At the same time, this life phase (often involving job responsibilities, parenting and caring for ageing parents) is when elevated stress can lead to <a href="https://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/abstract/2000/09000/stress_and_body_shape__stress_induced_cortisol.5.aspx">increased cortisol which causes fat gain in the abdominal region</a>.</p> <p>Midlife can also bring poorer sleep patterns. These contribute to fat gain with <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062">disruption to the hormones that control appetite</a>.</p> <p>Finally, your family history and genetics can <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1002695">make you predisposed to gaining more abdominal fat</a>.</p> <h2>Why the waist?</h2> <p>This intra-abdominal or visceral fat is much more metabolically active (it has a greater impact on body organs and systems) than the fat under the skin (subcutaneous fat).</p> <p>Visceral fat surrounds and infiltrates major organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines, releasing a variety of chemicals (hormones, inflammatory signals, and fatty acids). These affect inflammation, lipid metabolism, cholesterol levels and insulin resistance, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/eurheartjsupp/article/8/suppl_B/B4/461962">contributing to the development of chronic illnesses</a>.</p> <p>The issue is particularly evident <a href="https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(19)30588-5/abstract">during menopause</a>. In addition to the direct effects of hormone changes, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960076013001118?via%3Dihub">declining levels of oestrogen change brain function, mood and motivation</a>. These psychological alterations can result in reduced physical activity and increased eating – often of comfort foods high in sugar and fat.</p> <p>But these outcomes are not inevitable. Diet, exercise and managing mental health can limit visceral fat gains in mid-life. And importantly, the waist circumference (and ratio to height) is just one measure of human health. There are so many other aspects of body composition, exercise and diet. These can have much larger influence on a person’s health.</p> <h2>Muscle matters</h2> <p>The quantity and quality of skeletal muscle (attached to bones to produce movement) a person has makes a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrendo.2012.49">big difference</a> to their heart, lung, metabolic, immune, neurological and mental health as well as their physical function.</p> <p>On current evidence, it is equally or more important for health and longevity to <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e7279">have</a> higher muscle mass and better cardiorespiratory (aerobic) fitness than waist circumference within the healthy range.</p> <p>So, if a person does have an excessive waist circumference, but they are also sedentary and have less muscle mass and aerobic fitness, then the recommendation would be to focus on an appropriate exercise program. The fitness deficits should be addressed as priority rather than worry about fat loss.</p> <p>Conversely, a person with low visceral fat levels is not necessarily fit and healthy and may have quite poor aerobic fitness, muscle mass, and strength. <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/45/6/504">The research evidence</a> is that these vital signs of health – how strong a person is, the quality of their diet and how well their heart, circulation and lungs are working – are more predictive of risk of disease and death than how thin or fat a person is.</p> <p>For example, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5510687/">2017 Dutch study</a> followed overweight and obese people for 15 years and found people who were very physically active had no increased heart disease risk than “normal weight” participants.</p> <h2>Getting moving is important advice</h2> <p>Physical activity has many benefits. Exercise can counter a lot of the negative behavioural and physiological changes that are occurring during midlife including for people going through menopause.</p> <p>And regular exercise reduces the tendency to use food and drink to help manage what can be a <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/fulltext/2008/05000/physical_activity,_sedentary_index,_and_mental.7.aspx">quite difficult time in life</a>.</p> <p>Measuring your waist circumference and monitoring your weight remains important. If the measures exceed the values listed above, then it is certainly a good idea to make some changes. Exercise is effective for fat loss and in particular <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/57/16/1035">decreasing visceral fat</a> with greater effectiveness when <a href="https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12905-019-0864-5">combined with dietary restriction of energy intake</a>. Importantly, any fat loss program – whether through drugs, diet or surgery – is also a muscle loss program unless resistance exercise is part of the program. Talking about your overall health with a doctor is a great place to start.</p> <p><a href="https://www.essa.org.au/Public/Public/Searches/find-aep-withdistance.aspx">Accredited exercise physiologists</a> and <a href="https://member.dietitiansaustralia.org.au/Portal/Portal/Search-Directories/Find-a-Dietitian.aspx">accredited practising dietitians</a> are the most appropriate allied health professionals to assess your physical structure, fitness and diet and work with you to get a plan in place to improve your health, fitness and reduce your current and future health risks.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226019/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rob-newton-12124"><em>Rob Newton</em></a><em>, Professor of Exercise Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/good-news-midlife-health-is-about-more-than-a-waist-measurement-heres-why-226019">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"I'm shocked": Queen of the jungle crowned in I'm a Celeb finale

<p>The 2024 season of <em>I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!</em> has concluded with the coronation of a new monarch. No, it’s not some royal lineage we’re talking about; it’s the queen of reality TV herself, Skye Wheatley.</p> <p>After weeks of enduring the culinary horrors of the jungle and the occasional emotional breakdown, Australia has spoken and Skye is officially their jungle royalty. Her reign over the camp was nothing short of spectacular, featuring riveting moments such as her triumph over creepy crawlies, her dramatic monologues about missing Wi-Fi, and of course, her unforgettable friendship with that one tree that seemed oddly supportive.</p> <p>In an “incredibly close” result that had us all on the edge of our seats (or couches, let’s be real), Skye managed to outshine her fellow campmates and secure the coveted title of Jungle Queen. But it wasn’t just about the glory; it was about the charity, too. Skye walked away with $100,000 for Bully Zero, proving once and for all that you can battle both bullies and bugs and emerge victorious.</p> <p>In her post-victory interview, Skye expressed her shock at the win, saying, “I’m shocked.” Truly, her eloquence knows no bounds. “I feel absolutely blessed to have had this opportunity, and to go through the things I went through with these boys.”</p> <p>But behind those eloquent words lies the heart of a true champion, one who faced her fears head-on and emerged triumphant, all while looking fabulous in a khaki jumpsuit.</p> <p>Before her jungle adventure, Skye confessed that she thought the public expected her to “fall flat on my face”. Well, Skye, the joke’s on them because you soared like a majestic eagle, or at least like a slightly disoriented possum.</p> <p>And let’s not forget the emotional rollercoaster that was the finale. Tears flowed like the Brisbane River as the top three reunited with their loved ones. It was a moment of pure emotion, a stark contrast to the usual scenes of celebrities eating bugs for our entertainment.</p> <p>As we bid farewell to another season of jungle shenanigans, we can’t help but reflect on the memories created, the friendships forged, and the questionable food choices made. Here’s to Skye Wheatley, the queen of our hearts and the jungle alike. Long may she reign, or at least until the next season starts.</p> <p>And to all the celebrities who braved the jungle, whether voluntarily or not, we salute you. May your next adventure be slightly less bug-infested and involve significantly more room service.</p> <p>New host Robert Irwin had the last word to longtime host Julia Morris: “From the bottom of my heart, I have loved this so much," he said. "It’s been so much fun.” </p> <p><em>Images: Network Ten</em></p>

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Spice Girls reunite for Victoria Beckham's 50th birthday

<p>The Spice Girls have reunited and performed one of their most iconic songs at Victoria Beckham's lavish 50th birthday party. </p> <p>The birthday bash – which cost an estimated $480,000 – was hosted at Oswald’s, a private members’ restaurant in London, with all five Spice Girls, plus host of star guests, including Tom Cruise and Eva Longoria in attendance. </p> <p>David Beckham took to Instagram to share what Spice Girls fans have been dying to see - a video of the girl group singing and dancing to "Stop". </p> <p>“I mean come on x," he captioned the post. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C6AWKeaoENX/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C6AWKeaoENX/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by David Beckham (@davidbeckham)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Fans were over the moon and even British supermodel Adwoa Aboah commented: “What dreams are made of!”</p> <p>“David you are the best social media manager out there, thank you for giving the people CONTENT,” one fan wrote. </p> <p>“I am crying happy tears! OMG! I love Spice Girls so freaking much! Happy birthday, Victoria!” another commented. </p> <p>“The moment the entire planet has been waiting for,” a third added. </p> <p>"The way a whole generation is SHAKING," commented a fourth. </p> <p>Just last month, during an appearance on UK talk show <em>Loose Women</em>, Mel B hinted at a Spice Girls reunion of some kind, which she said would "definitely" be happening this year. </p> <p>“We are definitely doing something,” she told co-host Christine Lampard.</p> <p>“I’m probably going to get told off (for revealing that), but I’ve said it. There you go. I’m in trouble now.”</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

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Could not getting enough sleep increase your risk of type 2 diabetes?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/giuliana-murfet-1517219">Giuliana Murfet</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shanshan-lin-1005236">ShanShan Lin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936"><em>University of Technology Sydney</em></a></em></p> <p>Not getting enough sleep is a common affliction in the modern age. If you don’t always get as many hours of shut-eye as you’d like, perhaps you were concerned by news of a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2815684">recent study</a> that found people who sleep less than six hours a night are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>So what can we make of these findings? It turns out the relationship between sleep and diabetes is complex.</p> <h2>The study</h2> <p>Researchers analysed data from the <a href="https://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/">UK Biobank</a>, a large biomedical database which serves as a global resource for health and medical research. They looked at information from 247,867 adults, following their health outcomes for more than a decade.</p> <p>The researchers wanted to understand the associations between sleep duration and type 2 diabetes, and whether a healthy diet reduced the effects of short sleep on diabetes risk.</p> <p>As part of their involvement in the UK Biobank, participants had been asked roughly how much sleep they get in 24 hours. Seven to eight hours was the average and considered normal sleep. Short sleep duration was broken up into three categories: mild (six hours), moderate (five hours) and extreme (three to four hours). The researchers analysed sleep data alongside information about people’s diets.</p> <p>Some 3.2% of participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during the follow-up period. Although healthy eating habits were associated with a lower overall risk of diabetes, when people ate healthily but slept less than six hours a day, their risk of type 2 diabetes increased compared to people in the normal sleep category.</p> <p>The researchers found sleep duration of five hours was linked with a 16% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while the risk for people who slept three to four hours was 41% higher, compared to people who slept seven to eight hours.</p> <p>One limitation is the study defined a healthy diet based on the number of servings of fruit, vegetables, red meat and fish a person consumed over a day or a week. In doing so, it didn’t consider how dietary patterns such as time-restricted eating or the Mediterranean diet may modify the risk of diabetes among those who slept less.</p> <p>Also, information on participants’ sleep quantity and diet was only captured at recruitment and may have changed over the course of the study. The authors acknowledge these limitations.</p> <h2>Why might short sleep increase diabetes risk?</h2> <p>In people with <a href="https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/about-diabetes/type-2-diabetes/">type 2 diabetes</a>, the body becomes resistant to the effects of a hormone called insulin, and slowly loses the capacity to produce enough of it in the pancreas. Insulin is important because it regulates glucose (sugar) in our blood that comes from the food we eat by helping move it to cells throughout the body.</p> <p>We don’t know the precise reasons why people who sleep less may be at higher risk of type 2 diabetes. But <a href="https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.23501">previous research</a> has shown sleep-deprived people often have increased <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-511X-9-125">inflammatory markers</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-015-3500-4">free fatty acids</a> in their blood, which <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11892-018-1055-8">impair insulin sensitivity</a>, leading to <a href="https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.23501">insulin resistance</a>. This means the body struggles to use insulin properly to regulate blood glucose levels, and therefore increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>Further, people who don’t sleep enough, as well as people who sleep in irregular patterns (such as shift workers), experience disruptions to their body’s natural rhythm, known as the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5995632/">circadian rhythm</a>.</p> <p>This can interfere with the release of hormones like <a href="https://doi.org/10.1210/edrv.18.5.0317">cortisol, glucagon and growth hormones</a>. These hormones are released through the day to meet the body’s changing energy needs, and normally keep blood glucose levels nicely balanced. If they’re compromised, this may reduce the body’s ability to handle glucose as the day progresses.</p> <p>These factors, and <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.aar8590">others</a>, may contribute to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes seen among people sleeping less than six hours.</p> <p>While this study primarily focused on people who sleep eight hours or less, it’s possible longer sleepers may also face an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>Research has previously shown a U-shaped correlation between sleep duration and type 2 diabetes risk. A <a href="https://doi.org/10.2337/dc14-2073">review</a> of multiple studies found getting between seven to eight hours of sleep daily was associated with the lowest risk. When people got less than seven hours sleep, or more than eight hours, the risk began to increase.</p> <p>The reason sleeping longer is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes may be linked to <a href="https://doi.org/10.2337/dc15-0186">weight gain</a>, which is also correlated with longer sleep. Likewise, people who don’t sleep enough are more likely to be <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2017.07.013">overweight or obese</a>.</p> <h2>Good sleep, healthy diet</h2> <p>Getting enough sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>Based on this study and other evidence, it seems that when it comes to diabetes risk, seven to eight hours of sleep may be the sweet spot. However, other factors could influence the relationship between sleep duration and diabetes risk, such as individual differences in sleep quality and lifestyle.</p> <p>While this study’s findings question whether a healthy diet can mitigate the effects of a lack of sleep on diabetes risk, a wide range of evidence points to the benefits of <a href="https://www.who.int/initiatives/behealthy/healthy-diet">healthy eating</a> for overall health.</p> <p>The <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2815684">authors of the study</a> acknowledge it’s not always possible to get enough sleep, and suggest doing <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33137489/">high-intensity interval exercise</a> during the day may offset some of the potential effects of short sleep on diabetes risk.</p> <p>In fact, exercise <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2023.03.001">at any intensity</a> can improve blood glucose levels.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225179/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/giuliana-murfet-1517219">Giuliana Murfet</a>, Casual Academic, Faculty of Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shanshan-lin-1005236">ShanShan Lin</a>, Senior Lecturer, School of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/could-not-getting-enough-sleep-increase-your-risk-of-type-2-diabetes-225179">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Elephant tourism often involves cruelty – here are steps toward more humane, animal-friendly excursions

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-szydlowski-1495781">Michelle Szydlowski</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/miami-university-1934">Miami University</a></em></p> <p>Suju Kali is a 50-year-old elephant in Nepal who has been carrying tourists for over 30 years. Like many elephants I encounter through my <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/10888705.2022.2028628">research</a>, Suju Kali exhibits anxiety and can be aggressive toward strangers. She suffers from emotional trauma as a result of prolonged, commercial human contact.</p> <p>Like Suju Kali, many animals are trapped within the tourism industry. Some venues have no oversight and little concern for animal or tourist safety. Between 120,000 and 340,000 animals are used globally in a variety of wildlife tourism attractions, including <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0138939">endangered species</a> like elephants. Over a quarter of the world’s <a href="https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/7140/45818198">endangered elephants</a> reside in captivity with little oversight.</p> <p>Wildlife tourism – which involves viewing wildlife such as primates or birds in conservation areas, feeding or touching captive or “rehabilitated” wildlife in facilities, and bathing or riding animals like elephants – is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/14724049.2022.2156523">tricky business</a>. I know this because I am <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=YbweA2MAAAAJ&amp;hl=en">a researcher studying human relationships with elephants</a> in both tourism and conservation settings within Southeast Asia.</p> <p>These types of experiences have long been an <a href="https://kathmandupost.com/money/2021/06/17/tourism-is-nepal-s-fourth-largest-industry-by-employment-study">extremely popular and profitable</a> part of the <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002074">tourism market</a>. But now, many travel-related organizations are urging people not to participate in, or <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2018/04/27/animal-welfare-travelers-how-enjoy-wildlife-without-harming/544938002/">calling for an outright ban on, interactive wildlife experiences</a>.</p> <p>Tourism vendors have started marketing more “ethical options” for consumers. Some are attempting to truly improve the health and welfare of wildlife, and some are transitioning captive wildlife into touch-free, non-riding or lower-stress environments. In other places, organizations are attempting to <a href="https://www.fao.org/documents/card/es/c/b2c5dad0-b9b9-5a3d-a720-20bf3b9f0dc2/">implement standards of care</a> or create manuals that outline good practices for animal husbandry.</p> <p>This marketing, academics argue, is often simply “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2017.11.007">greenwashing</a>,” <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2023.2280704">applying marketing labels to make consumers feel better</a> about their choices without making any real changes. Worse, research shows that some programs marketing themselves as ethical tourism may instead be widening economic gaps and harming both humans and other species that they are meant to protect.</p> <h2>No quick fix</h2> <p>For example, rather than tourist dollars trickling down to local struggling families as intended by local governments, many tourism venues are owned by nonresidents, <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/japfcsc.v2i1.26746">meaning the profits do not stay in the area</a>. Likewise, only a small number of residents can afford to own tourism venues, and venues do not provide employment for locals from lower income groups.</p> <p>This economic gap is especially obvious in Nepalese elephant stables: Venue owners continue to make money off elephants, while elephant caregivers continue to work 17 hours a day for about US$21 a month; tourists are led to believe they are “<a href="https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/book/10.1079/9781800624498.0000">promoting sustainability</a>.”</p> <p>Yet, there are no easy answers, especially for elephants working in tourism. Moving them to sanctuaries is difficult because with no governmental or global welfare oversight, elephants may end up in worse conditions.</p> <p>Many kindhearted souls who want to “help” elephants know little about their biology and mental health needs, or what it takes to keep them healthy. Also, feeding large animals like Suju Kali is pricey, <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14010171">costing around $19,000 yearly</a>. So without profits from riding or other income, owners – or would-be rescuers – can’t maintain elephants. Releasing captive elephants to the jungle is not a choice – many have never learned to live in the wild, so they cannot survive on their own.</p> <h2>Hurting local people</h2> <p>Part of the problem lies with governments, as many have marketed tourism as a way to fund conservation projects. For example in Nepal, a percentage of ticket sales from elephant rides are given to community groups to use for forest preservation and support for local families.</p> <p>Increasing demand for <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Tourism-and-Animal-Ethics/Fennell/p/book/9781032431826">wildlife-based tourism</a> may increase traffic in the area and thus put pressure on local governments to further limit local people’s access to forest resources.</p> <p>This may also lead to <a href="https://www.worldanimalprotection.org/latest/news/un-world-tourism-organisation-urged-create-better-future-animals/">increased demands on local communities</a>, as was the case in Nepal. In the 1970s, the Nepalese government removed local people from their lands in what is now Chitwan National Park as part of increasing “conservation efforts” and changed the protected area’s boundaries. Indigenous “Tharu,” or people of the forest, were forced to abandon their villages and land. While some were offered access to “buffer zones” in the 1990s, many remain poor and landless today.</p> <p>In addition, more and more desirable land surrounding conservation areas in Nepal is being developed for tourist-based businesses such as hotels, restaurants and shops, <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/japfcsc.v2i1.26746">pushing local poor people farther away</a> from central village areas and the associated tourism income.</p> <p>Some activists would like humans to simply release all wildlife back into the wild, but <a href="https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/book/10.1079/9781800624498.0000">there are multiple issues</a> with that. Elephant habitats throughout Southeast Asia have been transformed into croplands, cities or train tracks for human use. Other problems arise from the fact that tourism elephants have <a href="https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315457413">never learned</a> how to be elephants in their natural elements, as they were <a href="https://www.pugetsound.edu/sites/default/files/file/8342_Journal%20of%20Tourism%20%282009%29_0.pdf">separated from their herds</a> at an early age.</p> <p>So tourism may be vital to providing food, care and shelter to captive elephants for the rest of their lives and providing jobs for those who really need them. Because elephants can live beyond 60 years, this can be a large commitment.</p> <h2>How to be an ethical tourist</h2> <p>To protect elephants, tourists should check out reviews and photos from any venue they want to visit, and look for clues that animal welfare might be impacted, such as tourists allowed to feed, hold or ride captive wildlife animals. Look for healthy animals, which means doing research on what “healthy” animals of that species should look like.</p> <p>If a venue lists no-touch demonstrations – “unnatural” behaviors that don’t mimic what an elephant might do of their own accord, such as sitting on a ball or riding a bike, or other performances – remember that the behind-the-scenes training used to achieve these behaviors can be <a href="https://doi.org/10.21832/9781845415051-014">violent, traumatic or coercive</a>.</p> <p>Another way to help people and elephant is to to use small, local companies to book your adventures in your area of interest, rather than paying large, international tourism agencies. Look for locally owned hotels, and wait to book excursions until you arrive so you can use local service providers. Book homestay programs and attend cultural events led by community members; talk to tourists and locals you meet in the target town to get their opinions, and use local guides who provide wildlife viewing opportunities <a href="https://nepaldynamicecotours.com/">while maintaining distance from animals</a>.</p> <p>Or tourists can ask to visit <a href="https://www.americanhumane.org/press-release/global-humane-launches-humane-tourism-certification-program/">venues that are certified</a> by international humane animal organizations and that <a href="https://www.su4e.org/">do not allow contact</a> with wildlife. Or they can opt for guided hikes, canoe or kayak experiences, and other environmentally friendly options.</p> <p>While these suggestions will not guarantee that your excursion is animal-friendly, they will help decrease your impact on wildlife, support local families and encourage venues to stop using elephants as entertainment. Those are good first steps.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/219792/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-szydlowski-1495781">Michelle Szydlowski</a>, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Project Dragonfly, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/miami-university-1934">Miami University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/elephant-tourism-often-involves-cruelty-here-are-steps-toward-more-humane-animal-friendly-excursions-219792">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Judge finds Bruce Lehrmann raped Brittany Higgins and dismisses Network 10 defamation case. How did it play out?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691">Brendan Clift</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Bruce Lehrmann has lost his defamation suit against Channel Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson after the media defendants proved, on the balance of probabilities, that Lehrmann raped his colleague Brittany Higgins in Parliament House in 2019.</p> <p>After a trial lasting around a month, Federal Court Justice Michael Lee – an experienced defamation judge – concluded that both Lehrmann and Higgins had credibility issues, but ultimately <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2024/2024fca0369">he was persuaded</a> that Lehrmann raped Higgins, as she’d alleged and he’d denied.</p> <h2>Criminal trials by proxy</h2> <p>Ordinarily, charges like rape would be resolved through the criminal courts, but Lehrmann’s criminal trial was <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-27/jury-discharged-in-trial-of-bruce-lehrmann-brittany-higgins/101583486">aborted</a> in October 2022 after juror misconduct. The charges against him were soon <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/bruce-lehrmann-sexual-assault-charge-dropped-dpp-confirms/news-story/3f82dd388d2cfa38680f7d4f4ceb1c5e">dropped</a>, nominally over concerns for Higgins’ mental health.</p> <p>Higgins, however, foresaw civil proceedings and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/05/brittany-higgins-volunteered-to-be-defamation-trial-witness-as-she-would-not-let-rapist-become-a-millionaire-ntwnfb">offered to testify</a> should they arise. That they did, as Lehrmann, free from the burden of any proven crime, sued several media outlets for defamation over their reporting into the allegations (<a href="https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/services/access-to-files-and-transcripts/online-files/lehrmann">the ABC</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/06/abc-agrees-to-pay-bruce-lehrmann-150000-to-settle-defamation-claim-court-documents-reveal">News Corp</a> both settled out of court).</p> <p><iframe class="flourish-embed-iframe" style="width: 100%; height: 550px;" title="Interactive or visual content" src="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/17195035/embed" width="100%" height="400" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" sandbox="allow-same-origin allow-forms allow-scripts allow-downloads allow-popups allow-popups-to-escape-sandbox allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation"></iframe></p> <div style="width: 100%!; margin-top: 4px!important; text-align: right!important;"><a class="flourish-credit" href="https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/17195035/?utm_source=embed&amp;utm_campaign=visualisation/17195035" target="_top"><img src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/made_with_flourish.svg" alt="Made with Flourish" /></a></div> <p>Like Ben Roberts-Smith’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/dismissed-legal-experts-explain-the-judgment-in-the-ben-roberts-smith-defamation-case-191503">recent defamation suit</a> against the former Fairfax papers, this became another case of civil proceedings testing grave allegations in the absence of a criminal law outcome.</p> <p>The form of proceedings made for some key differences with the aborted criminal trial. In criminal cases, prosecutors are ethically bound to act with moderation in pursuing a conviction, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, while defendants have the right to silence. By contrast, this trial featured detailed accounts from both sides as each sought to convince, in essence, that their contentions were likely to be correct.</p> <p>Also like the Roberts-Smith case, live streaming of the trial generated very high levels of public engagement. Today’s stream reached audiences of more than 45,000 people. It gave us the chance to assess who and what we believe, and to scrutinise the parties’ claims and the media’s reporting. The Federal Court doesn’t have juries, but we, the public, acted as a de facto panel of peers.</p> <p>We saw accusations and denials, revealing <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-23/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-ten-lisa-wilkinson-ends/103260752">cross-examination</a> of the protagonists, witness testimony from colleagues, CCTV footage from nightclubs to Parliament House complete with lip-reading, expert testimony on alcohol consumption and consent, and lawyers constructing timelines which supported or poked holes in competing versions of events.</p> <p>The complexity of high-stakes legal proceedings was on display, with Justice Lee issuing many interim decisions on questions of procedure and evidence. Whenever transparency was at stake, it won.</p> <p>The preference for full disclosure led to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2024/apr/02/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-10-fresh-evidence-bid-lisa-wilkinson-brittany-higgins-delay-ntwnfb">case being re-opened</a> at the eleventh hour to call former Channel 7 producer Taylor Auerbach as a witness, providing a denouement that the judge called “sordid”, but which had little relevance to the final result.</p> <h2>An argument over the truth</h2> <p>Lehrmann had the burden of proving that the defendants published matter harmful to his reputation. That matter was Wilkinson’s interview with Higgins on Channel Ten’s The Project in which the allegations were made.</p> <p>A statement is only defamatory if it’s untrue, but in Australian law, the publisher bears the burden of proving truth, should they opt for that defence. And more serious allegations usually require more compelling proof, as the law views them as inherently more unlikely.</p> <p>This can be onerous for a defamation defendant, but it also involves risk for the plaintiff, should the defendant embark on an odyssey of truth-telling yet more damaging to the plaintiff’s image. That happened to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65717684">Ben Roberts-Smith</a> and it happened to Lehrmann here.</p> <p>On the other hand, if the media hasn’t done their homework, as in <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2023/2023fca1223">Heston Russell’s case</a> against the ABC (also presided over by Justice Lee), the complainant can be vindicated.</p> <p>This case was a manifestation of Lehrmann’s professed desire to “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/oct/26/how-bruce-lehrmanns-media-interviews-cost-him-his-anonymity-in-toowoomba-case">light some fires</a>”. Few players in this extended saga have emerged without scars, and here he burned his own fingers, badly.</p> <p>As Justice Lee put it, Lehrmann, “having escaped the lion’s den [of criminal prosecution], made the mistake of coming back to get his hat”.</p> <h2>How was the case decided?</h2> <p>Lehrmann denied having sex with Higgins, whereas Higgins alleged there had been non-consensual sex. The defamatory nature of the publication centred on the claim of rape, so that was what the media defendants sought to prove.</p> <p>This left open the curious possibility that consensual sex might have taken place: if so, Lehrmann would have brought his case on a false premise (there had been no sex), but the media would have failed to defend it (by not proving a lack of consent), resulting in a Lehrmann win.</p> <p>That awkward scenario did not arise. The court found sex did in fact take place, Higgins in her heavily-inebriated and barely-conscious state did not give consent, and Lehrmann was so intent on his gratification that he ignored the requirement of consent.</p> <p>Justice Lee found Lehrmann to be a persistent, self-interested liar, whereas Higgin’s credibility issues were of lesser degree, some symptomatic of a person piecing together a part-remembered trauma. The judge drew strongly on the evidence of certain neutral parties who could testify to incidents or words spoken in close proximity to the events.</p> <h2>Defamation laws favour the aggrieved</h2> <p>Australian defamation law has historically favoured plaintiffs and, despite recent <a href="https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/civil/defamation/2021-law-reform/">rebalancing attempts</a>, it remains a favoured legal weapon for those with the resources to use it.</p> <p>This includes our political class, who sue their critics for defamation with unhealthy frequency for a democracy. In the United States, public figures don’t have it so easy: to win they must prove their critics were lying.</p> <p>In Australia, the media sometimes succeeds in proving truth, but contesting defamation proceedings comes at great financial cost and takes an emotional toll on the journalists involved.</p> <p>Nor can a true claim always be proven to a court’s satisfaction, given the rules of evidence and the fact that sources may be reluctant to testify or protected by a reporter’s guarantee of confidentiality.</p> <p>But this case demonstrates that publishers with an appetite for the legal fight can come out on top.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225891/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691"><em>Brendan Clift</em></a><em>, Lecturer of law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/judge-finds-bruce-lehrmann-raped-brittany-higgins-and-dismisses-network-10-defamation-case-how-did-it-play-out-225891">original article</a>.</em></p>

Legal

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"I believe he is alive": Father of young man who jumped off cruise ship speaks out

<p>The father of the young man who jumped off a cruise ship on its way to Florida has spoken out, saying he believes his son is still alive. </p> <p>While the Liberty of the Seas was travelling back from the Dominican Republic on its way to Florida, 20-year-old Levion Parker <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/young-man-who-jumped-off-cruise-ship-identified" target="_blank" rel="noopener">jumped overboard</a>. </p> <p>The ship was reportedly about 90km off the southern most island of the Bahamas when the young man, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol, jumped overboard in the early hours of the morning. </p> <p>Witnesses recounted the harrowing scene, describing how a young man took a spontaneous plunge from one of the ship's decks, despite the desperate pleas and helplessness of his father and brother who stood witness to the impulsive act.</p> <p>After days of searching, the US coast guard called off their search for the young man. </p> <p>Now, Legion's father Francel said he believes his son is still alive. </p> <p>“As soon as he went off the side, I prayed over him. I was confident the prayers I said over my son were heard. I stand on the word of God. I believe he is alive,” Mr Parker told local Florida paper, the <a href="https://www.yoursun.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Sun</em>, </a>on Wednesday.</p> <p>Francel went open to say that he threw six life rings off the ship in hopes of saving his son before the vessel was able to come to a stop about 20 minutes later.</p> <p>When news broke onboard of the tragedy, travellers reported that many people came out of their cabins to stare at the sea, hoping to be able to spot the young man in the water.</p> <p>Levion was reportedly “drunk” on the night of the incident, although details around this are unclear as the minimum age to consume alcohol on Royal Caribbean ships on voyages from North America or the Caribbean is 21.</p> <p>“We don’t drink,” Levion’s father Francel said. “I’d like to know how my son was served so much alcohol.”</p> <p>Francel, who owns an air-conditioning business, was invited, together with his family, aboard the ship as guests of Florida-based air-conditioning wholesalers Tropic Supply to mark the company’s 50th anniversary.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Do optimists really live longer? Here’s what the research says

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/fuschia-sirois-331254">Fuschia Sirois</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/durham-university-867">Durham University</a></em></p> <p>Do you tend to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty? Are you always looking on the bright side of life? If so, you may be surprised to learn that this tendency could actually be good for your health.</p> <p>A <a href="https://content.apa.org/record/2020-71981-001">number of studies</a> have shown that optimists enjoy higher levels of wellbeing, better sleep, lower stress and even better cardiovascular health and immune function. And now, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35674052/">a recent study</a> has shown that being an optimist is linked to longer life.</p> <p>To conduct their study, researchers tracked the lifespan of nearly 160,000 women aged between 50 to 79 for a period of 26 years. At the beginning of the study, the women completed a <a href="https://local.psy.miami.edu/people/faculty/ccarver/availbale-self-report-instruments/lot-r/">self-report measure of optimism</a>. Women with the highest scores on the measure were categorised as optimists. Those with the lowest scores were considered pessimists.</p> <p>Then, in 2019, the researchers followed up with the participants who were still living. They also looked at the lifespan of participants who had died. What they found was that those who had the highest levels of optimism were more likely to live longer. More importantly, the optimists were also more likely than those who were pessimists to live into their nineties. Researchers refer to this as “exceptional longevity”, considering the average lifespan for women is about 83 years in developed countries.</p> <p>What makes these findings especially impressive is that the results remained even after accounting for other factors known to predict a long life – including education level and economic status, ethnicity, and whether a person suffered from depression or other chronic health conditions.</p> <p>But given this study only looked at women, it’s uncertain whether the same would be true for men. However, <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.1900712116">another study</a> which looked at both men and women also found that people with the highest levels of optimism enjoyed a lifespan that was between 11% and 15% longer than those who were the least optimistic.</p> <h2>The fountain of youth?</h2> <p>So why is it that optimists live longer? At first glance it would seem that it may have to do with their healthier lifestyle.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.310828">research from several studies</a> has found that optimism is linked to eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, and being less likely to smoke cigarettes. These healthy behaviours are well known to improve heart health and <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/noncommunicable-diseases">reduce the risk</a> for cardiovascular disease, which is a <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds)">leading cause of death</a> globally. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857242/">important for reducing the risk</a> of other potentially deadly diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.</p> <p>But having a healthy lifestyle may only be part of the reason optimists live a longer than average life. This latest study found that lifestyle only accounted for 24% of the link between optimism and longevity. This suggests a number of other factors affect longevity for optimists.</p> <p>Another possible reason could be due to the way optimists manage stress. When faced with a stressful situation, optimists tend to deal with it head-on. They <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16859439/">use adaptive coping strategies</a> that help them resolve the source of the stress, or view the situation in a less stressful way. For example, optimists will problem-solve and plan ways to deal with the stressor, call on others for support, or try to find a “silver lining” in the stressful situation.</p> <p>All of these approaches are well-known to reduce feelings of stress, as well as the biological reactions that occur when we feel stressed. It’s these <a href="https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/body">biological reactions to stress</a> –- such as elevated cortisol (sometimes called the “stress hormone”), increased heart rate and blood pressure, and impaired immune system functioning –- that can take a toll on health over time and increase the risk for developing <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159115004316?via%3Dihub">life-threatening diseases</a>, such as cardiovascular disease. In short, the way optimists cope with stress may help protect them somewhat against its harmful effects.</p> <h2>Looking on the bright side</h2> <p>Optimism is typically viewed by researchers as a relatively stable personality trait that is determined by both <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/twin-research-and-human-genetics/article/sex-differences-in-the-genetic-architecture-of-optimism-and-health-and-their-interrelation-a-study-of-australian-and-swedish-twins/58F21AA11943D44B4BA4C63A966E6AC7">genetic</a> and early childhood influences (such as having a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6541423/">secure and warm relationship</a> with your parents or caregivers). But if you’re not naturally prone to seeing the glass as half full, there are some ways you can increase your <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2016.1221122?journalCode=rpos20">capacity to be optimistic</a>.</p> <p>Research shows optimism can change over time, and can be cultivated by engaging in simple exercises. For example, visualising and then writing about your “<a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-matters-most/201303/what-is-your-best-possible-self">best possible self</a>” (a future version of yourself who has accomplished your goals) is a technique that studies have found can <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439760.2016.1221122">significantly increase optimism</a>, at least temporarily. But for best results, the goals need to be both positive and reasonable, rather than just wishful thinking. Similarly, simply <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3200/SOCP.149.3.349-364">thinking about positive future events</a> can also be effective for boosting optimism.</p> <p>It’s also crucial to temper any expectations for success with an accurate view of what you can and can’t control. Optimism is reinforced when we experience the positive outcomes that we expect, and <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1970-20680-001">can decrease</a> when these outcomes aren’t as we want them to be. Although more research is needed, it’s possible that regularly envisioning yourself as having the best possible outcomes, and taking realistic steps towards achieving them, can help develop an optimistic mindset.</p> <p>Of course, this might be easier said than done for some. If you’re someone who isn’t naturally optimistic, the best chances to improve your longevity is by <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003332">living a healthy lifestyle</a> by staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, managing stress, and getting a good night’s sleep. Add to this cultivating a more optimistic mindset and you might further increase your chances for a long life.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/184785/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/fuschia-sirois-331254">Fuschia Sirois</a>, Professor in Social &amp; Health Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/durham-university-867">Durham University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/do-optimists-really-live-longer-heres-what-the-research-says-184785">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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No, taking drugs like Ozempic isn’t ‘cheating’ at weight loss or the ‘easy way out’

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clare-collins-7316">Clare Collins</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p>Obesity medication that is effective has been a long time coming. Enter semaglutide (sold as Ozempic and Wegovy), which is helping people improve weight-related health, including <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37952131/">lowering the risk</a> of a having a heart attack or stroke, while also silencing “<a href="https://theconversation.com/some-ozempic-users-say-it-silences-food-noise-but-there-are-drug-free-ways-to-stop-thinking-about-food-so-much-208467">food noise</a>”.</p> <p>As demand for semaglutide increases, so are <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/in-a-fat-phobic-world-ozempic-is-hardly-the-easy-way-out-20240401-p5fgjd.html">claims</a> that taking it is “cheating” at weight loss or the “easy way out”.</p> <p>We don’t tell people who need statin medication to treat high cholesterol or drugs to manage high blood pressure they’re cheating or taking the easy way out.</p> <p>Nor should we shame people taking semaglutide. It’s a drug used to treat diabetes and obesity which needs to be taken long term and comes with risks and side effects, as well as benefits. When prescribed for obesity, it’s given alongside advice about diet and exercise.</p> <h2>How does it work?</h2> <p>Semaglutide is a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GLP-1_receptor_agonist">glucagon-like peptide-1</a> receptor agonist (GLP-1RA). This means it makes your body’s own glucagon-like peptide-1 hormone, called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucagon-like_peptide-1">GLP-1</a> for short, work better.</p> <p>GLP-1 gets secreted by cells in your gut when it <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38218319/">detects increased nutrient levels</a> after eating. This stimulates insulin production, which lowers blood sugars.</p> <p>GLP-1 also slows gastric emptying, which makes you feel full, and reduces hunger and feelings of reward after eating.</p> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-1031" class="tc-infographic" style="border: none;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/1031/c11b606581d4bc58a71f066492d7f740b52c04e1/site/index.html" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>GLP-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) medications like Ozempic help the body’s own GLP-1 work better by mimicking and extending its action.</p> <p>Some studies have found less GLP-1 gets released after meals in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38218319/">adults with obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus</a> compared to adults with normal glucose tolerance. So having less GLP-1 circulating in your blood means you don’t feel as full after eating and get hungry again sooner compared to people who produce more.</p> <p>GLP-1 has a very short half-life of about <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28443255/">two minutes</a>. So GLP-1RA medications were designed to have a very long half-life of about <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/">seven days</a>. That’s why semaglutide is given as a weekly injection.</p> <h2>What can users expect? What does the research say?</h2> <p>Higher doses of semaglutide are prescribed to treat obesity compared to type 2 diabetes management (up to 2.4mg versus 2.0mg weekly).</p> <p>A large group of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">randomised controlled trials</a>, called STEP trials, all tested weekly 2.4mg semaglutide injections versus different interventions or placebo drugs.</p> <p>Trials lasting 1.3–2 years consistently found weekly 2.4 mg semaglutide injections <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">led to 6–12% greater weight loss</a> compared to placebo or alternative interventions. The average weight change depended on how long medication treatment lasted and length of follow-up.</p> <p>Weight reduction due to semaglutide also leads to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36769420/">reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure</a> of about 4.8 mmHg and 2.5 mmHg respectively, a reduction in <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/triglycerides">triglyceride levels</a> (a type of blood fat) and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">improved physical function</a>.</p> <p>Another recent trial in adults with pre-existing heart disease and obesity, but without type 2 diabetes, found adults receiving weekly 2.4mg semaglutide injections had a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37952131/">20% lower risk</a> of specific cardiovascular events, including having a non-fatal heart attack, a stroke or dying from cardiovascular disease, after three years follow-up.</p> <h2>Who is eligible for semaglutide?</h2> <p>Australia’s regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), has <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023">approved</a> semaglutide, sold as Ozempic, for treating type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>However, due to shortages, the TGA had advised doctors not to start new Ozempic prescriptions for “off-label use” such as obesity treatment and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme doesn’t currently subsidise off-label use.</p> <p>The TGA has <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/resources/prescription-medicines-registrations/wegovy-novo-nordisk-pharmaceuticals-pty-ltd">approved Wegovy to treat obesity</a> but it’s not currently available in Australia.</p> <p>When it’s available, doctors will be able to prescribe <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36934408/">semaglutide to treat obesity</a> in conjunction with lifestyle interventions (including diet, physical activity and psychological support) in adults with obesity (a BMI of 30 or above) or those with a BMI of 27 or above who also have weight-related medical complications.</p> <h2>What else do you need to do during Ozempic treatment?</h2> <p>Checking details of the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">STEP trial intervention components</a>, it’s clear participants invested a lot of time and effort. In addition to taking medication, people had brief lifestyle counselling sessions with dietitians or other health professionals every four weeks as a minimum in most trials.</p> <p>Support sessions were designed to help people stick with consuming 2,000 kilojoules (500 calories) less daily compared to their energy needs, and performing 150 minutes of <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/tips-for-getting-active">moderate-to-vigorous physical activity</a>, like brisk walking, dancing and gardening each week.</p> <p>STEP trials varied in other components, with follow-up time periods varying from 68 to 104 weeks. The aim of these trials was to show the effect of adding the medication on top of other lifestyle counselling.</p> <p>A <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">review of obesity medication trials</a> found people reported they needed less <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28652832/">cognitive behaviour training</a> to help them stick with the reduced energy intake. This is one aspect where drug treatment may make adherence a little easier. Not feeling as hungry and having environmental food cues “switched off” may mean less support is required for goal-setting, self-monitoring food intake and <a href="https://theconversation.com/9-ways-wont-power-is-better-than-willpower-for-resisting-temptation-and-helping-you-eat-better-71267">avoiding things that trigger eating</a>.</p> <h2>But what are the side effects?</h2> <p>Semaglutide’s side-effects <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">include</a> nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, indigestion and abdominal pain.</p> <p>In one study these <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/">led to</a> discontinuation of medication in 6% of people, but interestingly also in 3% of people taking placebos.</p> <p>More severe side-effects included gallbladder disease, acute pancreatitis, hypoglycaemia, acute kidney disease and injection site reactions.</p> <p>To reduce risk or severity of side-effects, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36934408/">medication doses are increased very slowly</a> over months. Once the full dose and response are achieved, research indicates you need to take it long term.</p> <p>Given this long-term commitment, and associated <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/private-health-insurance/what-private-health-insurance-covers/out-of-pocket-costs#:%7E:text=An%20out%20of%20pocket%20cost,called%20gap%20or%20patient%20payments">high out-of-pocket cost of medication</a>, when it comes to taking semaglutide to treat obesity, there is no way it can be considered “cheating”.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Read the other articles in The Conversation’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/ozempic-series-154673">Ozempic series</a> here.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/219116/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clare-collins-7316"><em>Clare Collins</em></a><em>, Laureate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/no-taking-drugs-like-ozempic-isnt-cheating-at-weight-loss-or-the-easy-way-out-219116">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Mick Fanning's baby joy

<p>Mick Fanning and his fiancee Breeana Randall have announced the birth of their daughter Lyla Skye Fanning. </p> <p>The Aussie surf legend took to Instagram on Tuesday to share the joyful news with a picture of their newborn bub and the simple caption: "Lyla Skye Fanning 4/4/24." </p> <p>Lyla has Arabic and Hebrew origins and means "night" or "dark beauty". </p> <p>The couple first announced they were expecting Lyla last December and share son Xander Dean, who was born in August 2020. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5hVlXsyqV4/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5hVlXsyqV4/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by @breeanablue</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Friends and fans were quick to congratulate the couple in the comments. </p> <p>"Congratulations!!!! Omg she’s so precious," commented surfer Alana Blanchard, with three red heart emojis. </p> <p>"❤ Congratulations!!" added surfer Stephanie Wilson. </p> <p>"This is amazing! Welcome to the world 💛" wrote the offical <em>Wiggles</em> account. </p> <p>"Welcome beautiful Lyla Skye. You are perfect & so so loved. Also that birth date is magic," added one fan. </p> <p>"Welcome to the world beautiful little Lyla. You really lucked out on the family front. We adore you already 💛" added another. </p> <p>The happy news comes just two weeks after the two-time world champion's family was struck by the tragic death of Fanning's brother Edward.</p> <p>Edward died at the age of after contracting an infection while working as a surf guide in Madagascar. </p> <p>Fanning shared his devastation in an emotional tribute shared on social media at the time. </p> <p>"Ed, love you my brother," he began the post.</p> <p>"You taught me so much over the years about everything that life could deal up. The good and the bad you were my teacher. You introduced us all to surfing, the joy and freedom of riding a wave.</p> <p>"The meaning of going to the ends of the earth to find waves to following a passion in the belief that surfing could be that ultimate job. As the years went on you would fall in and out of the ocean but your pure talent would always shine through. To where you ended up in teaching kids the joy of riding a wave. With out you I’m not sure what the world would of made of me so Thank you.</p> <p>"Ed you had the biggest heart and were too loyal for your own good. Always sticking up for the underdog and caring for those who needed help. You gave everyone everything you had, and if you didn’t have it you’d still give it to them."</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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"Out-of-touch" Project stars slammed over clash with renter advocate

<p>Social media users have slammed <em>The Project </em>hosts,  following their recent interview with a renter advocate who encourages Aussies struggling with the housing crisis to squat in empty homes. </p> <p>Jordan van den Berg,  founder of the S*** Rentals website shared a video over the weekend outside a rundown house in Chadstone, Melbourne, saying: “Are you sick of rich people hoarding empty houses during a housing crisis? I know I am." </p> <p>“Here’s how you can do something about it.” </p> <p>He then encouraged people to submit information on empty homes in their suburbs via a form on his website, which he plans to promote on his socials so those struggling to find a home could squat in them. </p> <p>“Fun fact – squatting in Australia is not necessarily illegal, which is the best type of legal, especially if the front door doesn’t actually lock," he said. </p> <p>On Monday, he appeared on The Project to talk about his controversial plans, and was grilled by the show's hosts. </p> <p>“I know we’re in a pretty serious housing crisis, but do you really think encouraging people to squat in private properties is the way to fix it?" asked co-host Sarah Harris. </p> <p> “Let me answer your question by asking you a question. Do you think it’s right we have thousands of vacant, abandoned homes while we have people living on the street?” van de Berg replied. </p> <p>Harris said she didn’t and asked whether the solving the housing crisis should be focused on policy instead.</p> <p>Later in the interview, panellist Steve Price casted his doubts on whether there actually were a lot of vacant homes, but van de Berg replied that he'd received over 300 submissions from Aussies about empty homes in their suburbs. </p> <p>van de Berg also said that desperate people are even squatting in abandoned properties, and added: “If someone needs a house, they can reach out to me and I’ll send them [details about] an empty home."</p> <p>Harris was shocked that people would “basically camp out in abandoned houses with no power" which van den Berg argued that “camping out inside” was likely better than sleeping on the streets or in a park.</p> <p>Co-host Waleed Aly then asked whether van de Berg  was encouraging people to break the law, but he pointed out that squatting – done properly – isn’t technically illegal.</p> <p>The interview has been slammed on social media, with Writer and comedian John Delmenico posting on X: “Watching the rich out-of-touch panel on the Project realise in real time that not everyone is rich is so bizarre.</p> <p>"Especially the part where Pingers has to explain that being in a house is safer than sleeping on the street. How do they host the news with no connection to reality?”</p> <p>Others agreed mocking the panellists’ shock that “shelter without electricity is better than no shelter with no electricity”.</p> <p>“She was laughing at the fact that ppl would camp out in abandoned houses with no power/water, until he put her in her place by reminding her they’re better off camping under shelter than outside. Mic drop moment," one wrote. </p> <p>“Homelessness exists … it’s quite a big problem actually," another added. </p> <p>However, a few others agreed with the <em>Project</em> hosts. </p> <p>“Encouraging people to squat, who does he think he is?" one wrote. </p> <p>“He thinks he’s doing a good thing, but he’s given absolutely no critical thought to the implications of encouraging people to take over ‘empty homes’," another added. </p> <p>Leo Patterson Ross, chief executive of the Tenants Union of NSW, said that van den Berg was “drawing attention to issues that government should be acting on”.</p> <p>“In the middle of a housing crisis with growing levels of homelessness, we should be looking to ensure homes are not left vacant,” Patterson Ross said.</p> <p>“If a person leaves a property unattended and empty for 12 years, then I think many of us would agree it seems fair that the community can reclaim usage to provide a home, whether that be individuals or government.”</p> <p><em>Image: The Project</em></p>

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Stay or go? Most older Australians want to retire where they are, but renters don’t always get a choice

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christopher-phelps-378137">Christopher Phelps</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/william-clark-1488932">William Clark</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-los-angeles-1301">University of California, Los Angeles</a></em></p> <p>As Australia’s population gets older, more people are confronted with a choice: retire where they are or seek new horizons elsewhere.</p> <p>Choosing to grow old in your existing home or neighbourhood is known as “ageing in place”. It enables older people to stay connected to their community and maintain familiarity with their surroundings.</p> <p>For many, the decision to “age in place” will be tied to their connection to the family home. But for many, secure and affordable housing is increasingly <a href="https://theconversation.com/ageing-in-a-housing-crisis-growing-numbers-of-older-australians-are-facing-a-bleak-future-209237">beyond reach</a>. This choice may then be impeded by a lack of suitable accommodation in their current or desired neighbourhoods.</p> <p>Our recently published <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/01640275231209683">study</a> asks what motivates older homeowners and renters to age in place or relocate, and what factors disrupt these preferences. It suggests older renters are often not given a fair choice.</p> <h2>Most older Australians want to age in place</h2> <p>Having the option to age in place enables older people to retain autonomy over their lifestyles and identity, promoting emotional wellbeing.</p> <p>Using 20 years of data from the government-funded Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, we tracked the preferences of Australians aged 55 and over.</p> <p>Encouragingly, most older Australians are already where they want to be.</p> <p>Two-thirds (67%) of respondents strongly preferred to stay in their current neighbourhood, and an additional one-fifth (19%) had a moderate preference to stay.</p> <p>Only 6% showed a moderate or strong desire to leave. Ageing in place is then the natural choice for a vast majority of older Australians.</p> <p><iframe id="s3LTM" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/s3LTM/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Our study highlights several motivations for people to stay put as they retire.</p> <p>For homeowners, family ties matter. Owners with children residing nearby were around one and a half times more likely to have a higher preference to stay.</p> <p>Older owners might then have a reason to call on their substantial <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-housing-wealth-gap-between-older-and-younger-australians-has-widened-alarmingly-in-the-past-30-years-heres-why-197027">housing wealth</a> and keep their children nearby via the <a href="https://360info.org/how-to-help-the-young-buy-a-home/">“bank of mum and dad”</a>.</p> <p>For renters, how long they stay is important. Those renting their home for 10 years or more were 1.7 times more likely to have a higher preference to stay than short-term renters.</p> <h2>Renters face the most disruption</h2> <p>The survey enabled us to follow where older people lived a year after they provided their preferences. This helped us gauge how often they turned their desires into reality.</p> <p>The chart below indicates that private renters face greater obstacles to ageing in place.</p> <p>Around one in 10 private renters that desired to age in place were disrupted – they wanted to stay in their neighbourhood but didn’t. This suggests they moved out of their neighbourhood involuntarily.</p> <p>Only 2% of homeowners and social renters experienced the same disruption. However, for those in these tenures that did not desire to age in place, involuntary immobility was a greater concern. Only 15% of those that wanted to leave succeeded, leaving the vast majority “stuck in place”.</p> <p><iframe id="IlliV" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/IlliV/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>The private rental market is the least secure of tenures, and so private tenants are often exposed to involuntary moves. Australia’s private rental system is lightly regulated compared to many other countries, creating tenure insecurity concerns.</p> <p>On the other hand, social renters were particularly susceptible to involuntary immobility. Social housing is scarce in Australia and subject to <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-soul-destroying-how-people-on-a-housing-wait-list-of-175-000-describe-their-years-of-waiting-210705">lengthy waiting lists</a>. A neighbourhood move often requires transferring to the less affordable and less secure private rental housing.</p> <p>Even after considering financial status, social renters were four times as likely to be stuck as compared to private renters. Social tenants are strongly deterred from moving in the current system.</p> <h2>How can we support older Australians’ preferences?</h2> <p>Our study exposes some barriers in the housing system that hinder people from being able to age in place, or move when they want to. Clearly, older renters enjoy fewer protections against disruptions to their preferences to age in place than older owners.</p> <p>For private renters, tenure insecurity in the <a href="https://theconversation.com/insecure-renting-ages-you-faster-than-owning-a-home-unemployment-or-obesity-better-housing-policy-can-change-this-216364">private rental sector</a> is a key reform priority. This can be achieved through stronger regulation that improves tenants’ rights. For example, more states could adopt <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-5-key-tenancy-reforms-are-affecting-renters-and-landlords-around-australia-187779?utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton">recent regulatory rental reforms</a> that support the rights of pet owners and protect against no-grounds evictions.</p> <p>Large numbers of older private renters also face severe <a href="https://www.oldertenants.org.au/publications/ageing-in-a-housing-crisis-older-peoples-housing-insecurity-homelessness-in-australia">rental stress</a>, which may force them to move from their preferred neighbourhood. <a href="https://theconversation.com/1-billion-per-year-or-less-could-halve-rental-housing-stress-146397">Commonwealth rent assistance reform</a> would alleviate some of this stress through an increase in rates and better targeting.</p> <p>An increase in the supply of social housing would play an important role in improving both tenure security and housing affordability. Older social renters enjoy fewer obstacles to ageing in place than older private renters.</p> <p>However, if social renters want to move into the private rental market to relocate, they face difficulty securing accommodation. This will likely discourage moves as it would require sacrificing the tenure security offered by social housing. However, policy initiatives that improve the <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/migration/documents/PES-358-Lessons-from-public-housing-urban-renewal-evaluation.pdf">quality of the public housing stock</a> can reduce feelings of being stuck.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/home-ownership-and-housing-tenure">homeownership rates decline</a> both among young people and those nearing retirement, we can expect the population of older renters to grow.</p> <p>Overall, our findings support a strong case for policy reform in the rental sectors to address the needs and preferences of older renters.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218024/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christopher-phelps-378137"><em>Christopher Phelps</em></a><em>, Research Fellow, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, ARC Future Fellow &amp; Professor of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/william-clark-1488932">William Clark</a>, Research Professor of Geography, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-los-angeles-1301">University of California, Los Angeles</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/stay-or-go-most-older-australians-want-to-retire-where-they-are-but-renters-dont-always-get-a-choice-218024">original article</a>.</em></p>

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