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Huge move to bring down cost of groceries

<p>Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers has announced a series of new measures to help bring down grocery prices  ahead of the release of a wide-ranging review into the Grocery Code of Conduct.</p> <p>According to the treasurer, increasing competition among supermarket giants is key to placing “downward pressure on prices”, while also enforcing multibillion-dollar fines on retailers that fail to comply with the mandatory code of conduct.</p> <p>This code is set to dictate how supermarkets like Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA’s parent company Metcash deals with producers and farmers, which will in turn see a reduction of prices for everyday shoppers. </p> <p>While Dr Chalmers stopped short of saying how far prices could drop, he told <em>Sunrise’s</em> Natalie Barr that a more competitive system would create “better outcomes for consumers,” and reduce grocery prices over time. </p> <p>“If it is more competitive, more transparent and people are getting a fair go, better outcomes will be seen at the supermarket checkout,” he said.</p> <p>The Treasurer said this would deliver a “fair go” for families, consumers and producers. </p> <p>“We recognise that the supply chains need to be better for farmers, growers and producers,” he said. </p> <p>“By doing that and making sure the supermarket sector is more competitive we can get better outcome for consumers.”</p> <p>Although the Albanese government has affirmed its support for the review, conducted by former Labor minister Craig Emerson, the final report rejected calls to expand the reforms to non-supermarkets like Bunnings, Chemist Warehouse, and Dan Murphy’s. </p> <p>“The review considers that the code should not be extended beyond supermarkets to cover other retailers,” the inquiry’s final report said.</p> <p>“This is not to say that these markets are functioning well for all players in those markets.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: MICK TSIKAS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial/Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Menopause can bring increased cholesterol levels and other heart risks. Here’s why and what to do about it

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/treasure-mcguire-135225">Treasure McGuire</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years, typically between 45 and 55. As women approach or experience menopause, common “change of life” <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9244939/">concerns</a> include hot flushes, sweats and mood swings, brain fog and fatigue.</p> <p>But many women may not be aware of the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32705886/">long-term effects</a> of menopause on the heart and blood vessels that make up the cardiovascular system. Heart disease accounts for <a href="http://world-heart-federation.org/what-we-do/women-cvd/">35% of deaths</a> in women each year – more than all cancers combined.</p> <p>What should women – and their doctors – know about these risks?</p> <h2>Hormones protect hearts – until they don’t</h2> <p>As early as 1976, the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/970770/">Framingham Heart Study</a> reported more than twice the rates of cardiovascular events in postmenopausal than pre-menopausal women of the same age. Early menopause (younger than age 40) also <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25331207/">increases heart risk</a>.</p> <p>Before menopause, women tend to be protected by their circulating hormones: oestrogen, to a lesser extent progesterone and low levels of testosterone.</p> <p>These sex hormones help to relax and dilate blood vessels, reduce inflammation and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10503403/">improve lipid (cholesterol) levels</a>. From the mid-40s, a decline in these hormone levels can <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10362825/">contribute to unfavourable changes</a> in cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight gain – all risk factors for heart disease.</p> <h2>4 ways hormone changes impact heart risk</h2> <p><strong>1. Dyslipidaemia</strong>– Menopause often involves <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38002671/">atherogenic changes</a> – an unhealthy imbalance of lipids in the blood, with higher levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C), dubbed the “bad” cholesterol. There are also reduced levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) – the “good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL-C from blood. These changes are a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10503403/">major risk factor for heart attack or stroke</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Hypertension</strong> – Declines in oestrogen and progesterone levels during menopause contribute to narrowing of the large blood vessels on the heart’s surface, arterial stiffness and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35722103/">raise blood pressure</a>.</p> <p><strong>3. Weight gain</strong> – Females are born with one to two million eggs, which develop in follicles. By the time they <a href="https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/fertility-information/getting-pregnant/ovulation-and-conception">stop ovulating</a> in midlife, fewer than 1,000 remain. This depletion progressively changes fat distribution and storage, from the hips to the waist and abdomen. Increased waist circumference (greater than 80–88 cm) has been <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18359190/">reported to contribute to heart risk</a> – though it is <a href="https://theconversation.com/good-news-midlife-health-is-about-more-than-a-waist-measurement-heres-why-226019">not the only factor to consider</a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Comorbidities</strong> – Changes in body composition, sex hormone decline, increased food consumption, weight gain and sedentary lifestyles impair the body’s ability to effectively use insulin. This <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11133069/">increases the risk</a> of developing metabolic syndromes such as type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>While risk factors apply to both genders, hypertension, smoking, obesity and type 2 diabetes confer a greater relative risk for heart disease in women.</p> <h2>So, what can women do?</h2> <p>Every woman has a different level of baseline cardiovascular and metabolic risk pre-menopause. This is based on their genetics and family history, diet, and lifestyle. But all women can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8351755/">reduce their post-menopause heart risk with</a>:</p> <ul> <li>regular moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking, pushing a lawn mower, riding a bike or water aerobics for 30 minutes, four or five times every week</li> <li>a healthy heart diet with smaller portion sizes (try using a smaller plate or bowl) and more low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruit and whole grains</li> <li>plant sterols (unrefined vegetable oil spreads, nuts, seeds and grains) each day. A review of 14 clinical trials found plant sterols, at doses of at least 2 grams a day, produced an average reduction in serum LDL-C (bad cholesterol) of about 9–14%. This could reduce the risk of heart disease by <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10731187/">25% in two years</a></li> <li>less unhealthy (saturated or trans) fats and more low-fat protein sources (lean meat, poultry, fish – especially oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids), legumes and low-fat dairy</li> <li>less high-calorie, high-sodium foods such as processed or fast foods</li> <li>a reduction or cessation of smoking (nicotine or cannabis) and alcohol</li> <li>weight-gain management or prevention.</li> </ul> <h2>What about hormone therapy medications?</h2> <p>Hormone therapy remains the most effective means of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15495039/">managing hot flushes and night sweats</a> and is beneficial for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18418063/">slowing the loss of bone mineral density</a>.</p> <p>The decision to recommend oestrogen alone or a combination of oestrogen plus progesterone hormone therapy depends on whether a woman has had a hysterectomy or not. The choice also depends on whether the hormone therapy benefit outweighs the woman’s disease risks. Where symptoms are bothersome, hormone therapy has <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33841322/">favourable or neutral effects on coronary heart disease risk</a> and medication risks are low for healthy women younger than 60 or within ten years of menopause.</p> <p>Depending on the level of stroke or heart risk and the response to lifestyle strategies, some women may also require medication management to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8351755/">control high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels</a>. Up until the early 2000s, women were underrepresented in most outcome trials with lipid-lowering medicines.</p> <p>The <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25579834/">Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration</a> analysed 27 clinical trials of statins (medications commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol) with a total of 174,000 participants, of whom 27% were women. Statins were about as effective in women and men who had similar risk of heart disease in preventing events such as stroke and heart attack.</p> <p>Every woman approaching menopause should ask their GP for a 20-minute <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/heart-health">Heart Health Check</a> to help better understand their risk of a heart attack or stroke and get tailored strategies to reduce it.<!-- 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/treasure-mcguire-135225">Treasure McGuire</a>, Assistant Director of Pharmacy, Mater Health SEQ in conjoint appointment as Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Bond University and as Associate Professor (Clinical), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</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/menopause-can-bring-increased-cholesterol-levels-and-other-heart-risks-heres-why-and-what-to-do-about-it-228010">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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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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Sad end in search for missing Yellowstone actor

<p>The entertainment industry is mourning the loss of actor Cole Brings Plenty, known for his roles in various Western dramas, including a spin-off of the immensely popular television series <em>Yellowstone</em>.</p> <p>The news of his demise surfaced after a distressing sequence of events unfolded in Kansas, where Brings Plenty was found dead after being reported missing amidst a domestic violence investigation.</p> <p>Authorities from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Friday the discovery of Brings Plenty's body in a wooded area. This revelation came in the wake of escalating concerns when the actor went missing amid a cloud of suspicion regarding a domestic violence incident.</p> <p>The circumstances surrounding Brings Plenty's death remain shrouded in mystery, as law enforcement officials have refrained from disclosing any details regarding the cause of death. However, the tragic saga began to unfold days prior when Brings Plenty found himself entangled in legal troubles.</p> <p>Reports indicate that Brings Plenty was charged in a nearby county with aggravated burglary, domestic battery and criminal restraint, prompting an arrest warrant against him. The series of events culminated when authorities responded to a distress call from an apartment in Lawrence, where a woman was heard screaming for help. However, by the time law enforcement arrived at the scene, Brings Plenty had already departed.</p> <p>The gravity of the situation escalated when Brings Plenty failed to attend a crucial audition for an upcoming film project scheduled over Zoom. </p> <p>Amid the turmoil, expressions of sorrow and condolence flooded in from all corners. Joe Brings Plenty Sr, the actor's father, expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support and prayers from well-wishers. "I learned this week how many people knew the goodness in Cole’s heart and loved him," he said in a statement released on Friday.</p> <p>Cole Brings Plenty, aged 27, left an indelible mark on the entertainment landscape with his appearances in several Western dramas. Notably, he graced the screen in two episodes of <em>1923</em>, a Paramount+ series starring veteran actor Harrison Ford, which serves as a prequel to the widely acclaimed <em>Yellowstone</em>. Additionally, Brings Plenty showcased his talent in other Western productions, including <em>Into the Wild Frontier</em> and <em>The Tall Tales of Jim Bridger</em>.</p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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“I’ve got to change this”: The one big fix Robert Irwin is bringing to the jungle

<p>Robert Irwin has shared the one big change he insisted on after he joined the cast of <em>I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!</em></p> <p>The wildlife warrior spoke to Kyle and Jackie O about how he demanded for the show to ditch the eating of native animals for challenges. </p> <p>In past seasons, the show has used body parts of native African animals in challenges for contestants to eat in exchange for prizes and advantages. </p> <p>After agreeing to host the show alongside Julia Morris, the 20-year-old insisted the rule was changed. </p> <p>“The one thing that I was like, ‘Mmm, I’ve got to change this’, was eating the African wildlife…I’m a conservationist at heart,” he said on Tuesday morning when dropping by <em>The Kyle &amp; Jackie O Show</em>.</p> <p>“They have changed it so we’re just doing the cow, and the chicken, and the fish, and the cockroach,” he revealed of the change of challenge menu.</p> <p>Morris said she supported her new co-host’s efforts to stop any consumption of African wildlife on the show.</p> <p>“I think what Robert’s been doing is making people think, ‘Do you need it or not?’ Like if you need it, tell me why you need the wildlife in a place like that?” Morris explained.</p> <p>“And if it doesn’t matter and it was just something that was nice in Africa from Series 1, then we don’t need it – just get a cow!”</p> <p>Irwin added, “Africa’s got such amazing wildlife, and it’s about celebrating it”.</p> <p>Elsewhere in the interview, the young conservationist reflected on the time he first visited the South African set of <em>I’m A Celeb</em> when he was just 10 years old alongside his mum Terri and sister Bindi. </p> <p>“I just kind of got dropped in there with my family and spent the day in there and it was awesome. Since then, it’s been on my radar, I’ve been a fan of the show and I just thought it’s such an amazing thing I was awe-struck, I just loved it. Coming back as a host, is the craziest thing,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: KIISFM</em></p>

TV

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The secret sauce of Coles’ and Woolworths’ profits: high-tech surveillance and control

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-kate-kelly-1262424">Lauren Kate Kelly</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063"><em>RMIT University</em></a></em></p> <p>Coles and Woolworths, the supermarket chains that together control <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-20/woolworths-coles-supermarket-tactics-grocery-four-corners/103405054">almost two-thirds</a> of the Australian grocery market, are facing unprecedented scrutiny.</p> <p>One recent inquiry, commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and led by former Australian Consumer and Competition Commission chair Allan Fels, found the pair engaged in unfair pricing practices; an ongoing <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Supermarket_Prices/SupermarketPrices">Senate inquiry into food prices</a> is looking at how these practices are linked to inflation; and the ACCC has just begun <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/inquiries-and-consultations/supermarkets-inquiry-2024-25">a government-directed inquiry</a> into potentially anti-competitive behaviour in Australia’s supermarkets.</p> <p>Earlier this week, the two companies also came under the gaze of the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-19/super-power-the-cost-of-living-with-coles-and-woolworths/103486508">ABC current affairs program Four Corners</a>. Their respective chief executives each gave somewhat prickly interviews, and Woolworths chief Brad Banducci <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-21/woolworths-ceo-brad-banducci-retirement-four-corners/103493418">announced his retirement</a> two days after the program aired.</p> <p>A focus on the power of the supermarket duopoly is long overdue. However, one aspect of how Coles and Woolworths exercise their power has received relatively little attention: a growing high-tech infrastructure of surveillance and control that pervades retail stores, warehouses, delivery systems and beyond.</p> <h2>Every customer a potential thief</h2> <p>As the largest private-sector employers and providers of essential household goods, the supermarkets play an outsized role in public life. Indeed, they are such familiar places that technological developments there may fly under the radar of public attention.</p> <p>Coles and Woolworths are both implementing technologies that treat the supermarket as a “problem space” in which workers are controlled, customers are tracked and profits boosted.</p> <p>For example, in response to a purported spike in shoplifting, a raft of customer surveillance measures have been introduced that treat every customer as a potential thief. This includes <a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/eat/coles-introducing-new-technology-which-will-track-shoppers-every-move/news-story/86ea8d330f76df87f2235eeda4d1136e">ceiling cameras</a> which assign a digital ID to individuals and track them through the store, and <a href="https://www.thenewdaily.com.au/finance/consumer/2023/08/16/smart-gate-technology">“smart” exit gates</a> that remain closed until a purchase is made. Some customers have reported being “<a href="https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/coles-supermarketshoppers-dramatic-checkout-experience-goes-viral-i-was-trapped-c-12977760">trapped</a>” by the gate despite paying for their items, causing significant embarrassment.</p> <p>At least one Woolworths store has <a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/woolies-in-wetherill-park-fitted-with-500-tiny-cameras-to-monitor-stock-levels/news-story/585de8c741ae9f520adcc4005f2a736a">installed 500 mini cameras</a> on product shelves. The cameras monitor real-time stock levels, and Woolworths says customers captured in photos will be silhouetted for privacy.</p> <p>A Woolworths spokesperson <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/up-to-70-cameras-watch-you-buy-groceries-what-happens-to-that-footage-20230819-p5dxtp.html">explained</a> the shelf cameras were part of “a number of initiatives, both covert and overt, to minimise instances of retail crime”. It is unclear whether the cameras are for inventory management, surveillance, or both.</p> <p>Workers themselves are being fitted with body-worn cameras and wearable alarms. Such measures may protect against customer aggression, which is a <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-11-22/retail-union-staff-abuse-cost-of-living-christmas/103117014">serious problem facing workers</a>. Biometric data collected this way could also be used to discipline staff in what scholars Karen Levy and Solon Barocas refer to as “<a href="https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/7041">refractive surveillance</a>” – a process whereby surveillance measures intended for one group can also impact another.</p> <h2>Predicting crime</h2> <p>At the same time as the supermarkets ramp up the amount of data they collect on staff and shoppers, they are also investing in data-driven “crime intelligence” software. Both supermarkets have <a href="https://www.smartcompany.com.au/industries/information-technology/grocery-chains-surveillance-tech-auror/">partnered with New Zealand start-up Auror</a>, which shares a name with the magic police from the Harry Potter books and claims it can predict crime before it happens.</p> <p>Coles also recently began a partnership with Palantir, a global data-driven surveillance company that takes its name from magical crystal balls in The Lord of the Rings.</p> <p>These heavy-handed measures seek to make self-service checkouts more secure without increasing staff numbers. This leads to something of a vicious cycle, as under-staffing, self-checkouts, and high prices are often <a href="https://www.aap.com.au/news/retail-workers-facing-increased-violence-and-abuse/">causes of customer aggression</a> to begin with.</p> <p>Many staff are similarly frustrated by <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/jun/05/coles-woolworths-court-accused-of-underpaying-workers">historical wage theft by the supermarkets</a> that totals hundreds of millions of dollars.</p> <h2>From community employment to gig work</h2> <p>Both supermarkets have brought the gig economy squarely <a href="https://theconversation.com/coles-uber-eats-deal-brings-the-gig-economy-inside-the-traditional-workplace-204353">inside the traditional workplace</a>. Uber and Doordash drivers are now part of the infrastructure of home delivery, in an attempt to push last-mile delivery costs onto gig workers.</p> <p>The precarious working conditions of the gig economy are well known. Customers may not be aware, however, that Coles recently increased Uber Eats and Doordash prices by at least 10%, and will <a href="https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/shoppers-slam-coles-over-major-change-to-half-price-buys-that-will-affect-millions-c-12860556">no longer match in-store promotions</a>. Drivers have been instructed to dispose of the shopping receipt and should no longer place it in the customer’s bag at drop-off.</p> <p>In addition to higher prices, customers also pay service and delivery fees for the convenience of on-demand delivery. Despite the price increases to customers, drivers I have interviewed in my ongoing research report they are earning less and less through the apps, often well below Australia’s minimum wage.</p> <p>Viewed as a whole, Coles’ and Woolworths’ high-tech measures paint a picture of surveillance and control that exerts pressures on both customers and workers. While issues of market competition, price gouging, and power asymmetries with suppliers must be scrutinised, issues of worker and customer surveillance are the other side of the same coin – and they too must be reckoned with.<!-- 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/224076/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/lauren-kate-kelly-1262424"><em>Lauren Kate Kelly</em></a><em>, PhD Candidate, ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT 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/the-secret-sauce-of-coles-and-woolworths-profits-high-tech-surveillance-and-control-224076">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Coles shopper humiliated after being accused of shoplifting

<p dir="ltr">A Coles shopper has been left feeling humiliated after they were forced to lift up their shirt to prove they weren’t shoplifting. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tony Jones, 39, was about to pay for his groceries at self-checkout on Saturday morning when he was confronted by the employee of the Brisbane Coles who made the accusation.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And what about what’s under your shirt?” Mr Jones said the staff member loudly asked him, causing the other customers to look around.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones has a stoma as a result of having his entire bowel removed from bowel cancer a few years ago, and later developed an “extremely obvious” hernia at the site which “sticks out about 15 centimetres from my stomach”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“My initial reaction was flat-out shock, because she didn’t say it in a way of asking me, she flat-out accused me,” he told <em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/customer-with-obvious-hernia-humiliated-at-selfservice-checkout/news-story/56980cdcada75ba9ae0cca9cb90c75f0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“She seemed quite proud. Everybody in the self-checkout bay heard what she accused me of, and she walked over to me. I was just stunned, I guess I kind of shut down — I’ve never been accused of being a thief before — so I just lifted my shirt.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After revealing his condition, Jones was left feeling “violated” as the supermarket worker simply said, “Yeah, sorry, we’ve had a few of those lately,” apparently referring to shoplifting incidents.</p> <p dir="ltr">Coles has since apologised to Mr Jones, but that hasn’t made up for the trauma he endured in the supermarket. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I’ve lived here for 12 or 13 years, I’ve been at that Coles plenty,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Obviously I don’t expect retail staff to recognise everybody … I assume they’ve had some thefts lately, I’m not sure whether they’ve been given instructions to pull up more people because they don’t have a [security] gate yet.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones took to Reddit to share the story of his encounter, asking those on the social media site, “Is Coles allowed to ask what’s under my shirt? When it’s just my hernia.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The post quickly went viral, attracting hundreds of comments.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Former loss prevention officer here — they cannot detain you in any way unless they have witnessed you select the goods and witnessed you not take advantage of a reasonable opportunity to pay,” one person wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">Another woman said, “I have a permanent ileostomy and have had retail workers accuse me of stealing too. It’s annoying because most of the time I wear clothes where the top of it pokes out the top and it’s happened when I’ve worn clothes that completely covered it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">A third person commented, “Gentle reminder Coles turned a record profit in the midst of the Covid recession, then decided to install hard arse security detectors to catch thieves.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones said the whole experience left him feeling rattled and upset, especially as he continues to undergo treatment for his condition and prepare for another surgery. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m not dealing with it great, if I’m truthful,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m seeing doctors weekly at the moment. Things add up, and getting called out on Saturday, it basically shut me down for the entire day, [left me] for lack of a better word feeling like s**t. I had all eyes on me. I’m not a social person so I just wanted to get out of there to be honest. I don’t think I’ll ever be going back to Coles.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Body

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"The greatest miracle": Swimming legend's heartwarming family news

<p>Australian swimming legend Ellie Cole has celebrated the "unexpected" arrival of her baby boy. </p> <p>The Paralympic swimming champion took to Instagram to share the news of her son's birth, who arrived three weeks before his due date. </p> <p>Sharing a sweet photo of the new bub wrapped in his hospital blanket, the 32-year-old mum expressed basked in the joy of motherhood. </p> <p>“They say when your own child is born, it is one of the greatest miracles you could ever hope for,” she wrote.</p> <p>“We are feeling so blessed - Felix Parker Cole joined our family this morning, unexpectedly, three weeks early."</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-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C29McEDhHb0/?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/p/C29McEDhHb0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Ellie Cole (@elliecoleswim)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“We know that he will make us see the world in an entirely different way. Welcome to the world, little Felix. All we see is you.”</p> <p>Aussie swimming great Libby Trickett was one of several high-profile stars to pass on their congratulations, while former swimming champ and Seven TV presenter Joh Griggs said, “Oh massive congratulations. How wonderful ❤️❤️❤️”.</p> <p>Cole is Australia’s most decorated female Paralympian who dominated the pool for years before her retirement in 2022, not long after her third Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.</p> <p>In four Paralympics she won 17 medals, including six gold, and at the Comm Games she won one silver and three bronze medals.</p> <p>She recently received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) award in the Australia Day honours in January.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram / Getty Images </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>

Family & Pets

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The surprising reason you shouldn’t bring camouflage clothing on a cruise

<p><strong>Dress codes</strong></p> <p>If you’ve been on a cruise before, then you’re probably aware that dress codes are still a thing. In fact, clothing recommendations are quite common, as some of the best cruise lines have formal nights, dress-to-impress evenings and planned costume or themed cruise events. So rules about what you can and cannot wear aren’t abnormal.</p> <p>As such, packing for a cruise is no easy feat: You’ll need formalwear for nights, pool wear for the day, outfits for excursions and layers for inclement weather. I’m an avid cruise-goer, and there are a number of items I never board a cruise ship without, but there’s also one thing I absolutely never pack for a cruise headed for the Philippines or the Caribbean: camouflage clothing.</p> <p><strong>Why is camouflage clothing inadvisable?</strong></p> <p>It actually has nothing to do with the formality of your wardrobe. Camouflage clothing happens to be illegal to wear in many countries that are popular cruise destinations. According to cruise liner Royal Caribbean, the Philippines, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago are among those that prohibit camouflage.</p> <p>And while camouflage print clothing and accessories, as well as military-style clothing, aren’t technically banned onboard cruises, most cruise companies will simply ask you not to pack them to curb any potential issues at ports.</p> <p><strong>Why is camouflage clothing banned in these countries?</strong></p> <p>In most countries that prohibit camouflage, it’s because the disguising clothing is reserved for military personnel only. And it’s important to be respectful of this camouflage-free rule, which I learned while travelling to Nevis about seven years ago. My friend was stopped by hotel staff who advised her to change out of her camouflaged pants if she planned to leave the property. Not understanding the seemingly odd request without any context or explanation, we asked what would happen if she didn’t comply. Their response? She could get fined or arrested. As you can imagine, those cute camo pants were then stuffed into her suitcase for the remainder of our stay.</p> <p>“It is a concern because of the affiliation with criminal gangs as well as armed forces,” says Lauren Doyle, a travel advisor and president of boutique travel agency The Travel Mechanic. She says that to avoid any confusion and help curb any potential issues in the future, cruise lines simply advise against bringing it onboard.</p> <p>Doyle, who has booked many cruises for customers, says this information is usually found on a cruise line’s website (which is why it’s important to brush up on cruise tips prior to setting sail), and that many cruise lines will include it in their daily newsletter or app if you’re going to any country that prohibits it.</p> <p><strong>What to do if you accidentally pack camouflage clothing</strong></p> <p>If you’ve packed a camo hat, bathing suit, cargo pants or the camouflage backpack you carry, just leave it on the ship, even if you’re unsure of restrictions on what to wear in certain ports of call.</p> <p>Generally, you can wear camo clothing while you’re onboard, just not during excursions or on land. So if you’ve packed it, go ahead and rock your camo print at the breakfast buffet or on the pool deck (as you ponder those big white balls on the cruise deck). And while you could probably technically wear your camo while chilling on your stateroom balcony, if it’s viewable to the country you’re visiting, it may still be considered disrespectful, so we don’t recommend it.</p> <p><strong>What else is prohibited on a cruise ship?</strong></p> <p>There are plenty of things you can’t do on a cruise, but what about things you shouldn’t bring to begin with? There are a few more surprising items Doyle recommends leaving at home. “Small appliances – like hot plates, steamers or irons – are also prohibited, along with electric blankets,” Doyle says. “Also, medical marijuana is not allowed on cruise ships. Drones are not allowed either.”</p> <p>Each cruise line lists prohibited items on their website, along with some exceptions, so be sure to consult their information before you start packing.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/the-surprising-reason-you-shouldnt-bring-camouflage-clothing-on-a-cruise" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Cruising

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Disabled customer "crushed" by Coles' new smart gate

<p>A customer using a wheelchair has been crushed by Coles' new controversial smart gates, just months after it was rolled out in Aussie stores. </p> <p>The smart gates were added to self-serve check-outs across the country late last year as a security measure against thieves. </p> <p>The gates were installed with a range of other security measures in response to rising theft rates, including "CCTV, electronic article surveillance (EAS), and in some stores new smart gate technology that automatically opens as customers make payment for their products," according to a Coles spokesperson. </p> <p>But on Tuesday a customer, who chose to remain anonymous, said that one of the smart gates “slammed shut” on them and their wheelchair, while they were on their routine shopping trip with their son. </p> <p>After buying a few things the customer said that they were heading to the "wide open" gate, and their son passed through safely. </p> <p>But, when they tried to follow, the gate abruptly closed “hitting” their arms and “crushing” their wheelchair.</p> <p>The gate began to beep and only reopened when the customer pushed their way through. </p> <p>Fortunately, the customer was not injured but wanted to raise awareness on the issue. </p> <p>“I’ll be calling every day until SOMEONE tells me how to avoid being crushed next time,” they said.</p> <p>A few other annoyed customers slammed the "invasive" and "annoying" technology. </p> <p>“One literally snapped shut on our pram as we were pushing our kiddo through,” one person wrote on social media. </p> <p>“I’d walked out the store first, pram and husband following behind. Especially cause they make them too small for you to go side-by-side!</p> <p>“It’s insane, and I refuse to look at any self check out or check out with that in the path.”</p> <p>Another added: “Not long until an elderly person is knocked over by them and breaks their hip or similar." </p> <p>"It’s turning into a jail rather than a supermarket,” a third wrote. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Legal

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Coles shopper admits to stealing to feed her family amid cost of living crisis

<p>A woman has made a desperate plea to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese after overhearing a teary Coles shopper admit to shoplifting to feed her family. </p> <p>The woman was shopping in her local Coles supermarket when she overheard another shopper confess the desperate act to her friend, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact struggling Aussies. </p> <p>Australia’s cost of living crisis is continuing to see millions struggle with soaring interest rates and rent prices, high energy bills and rising supermarket costs, with many being forced to take drastic measures to survive. </p> <p>Sharing on Facebook, the woman said she was feeling “let down” and “hoodwinked” by the Albanese government after listening to the Coles customer’s heartbreaking story.</p> <p>“Anthony Albanese, I am so deeply saddened to hear someone shopping at Coles admit to her friend in tears that sometimes she now steals food because she simply can’t put food on the table any other way,” she wrote.</p> <p>“Of course there is food relief et al (but those services are also at breaking point). It’s disheartening to witness firsthand the desperation that leads someone to resort to theft just to put food on the table."</p> <p>“While I have you, I am feeling let down and somewhat hoodwinked by you. Your sentiment around truly understanding hardship because of your upbringing seems to have been just talk."</p> <p>“What I heard today made me realise that not enough is being done that was promised to make a positive impact on the lives of those struggling with adversity.”</p> <p>Many commented on the post saying not enough was being done to help battling Aussies, and urging the government to do more. </p> <p>“The line at ReachOut (food pantry) was around the corner and down the street this afternoon,” one said.</p> <p>Another added, “Food costs are beyond ridiculous right now. I fear that the horse has bolted and once it’s out ... it’s not coming back for pats.</p> <p>“And sorry to say but Albo is just another politician. Hope he sees this and listens but I’m not holding my breath. Sad state of affairs.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Dead dodgy": Outraged shopper uncovers sneaky Coles practice

<p>One disgruntled shopper has called out Coles for their "deceptive" tactic to mislead customers about their special deal prices. </p> <p>After finding that prices online were often mismatched to prices in store, regular Coles shopper Rowan Element got into the habit of checking if the price of an item was the same on the specials tag and its original tag, with the initial price often exaggerated on the specials tag to make the promotion appear more appealing.</p> <p>On Thursday, Element discovered one Coles store in Canberra employing this sneaky practice with the original tag conveniently hidden behind the promotion.</p> <p>"I bought this humble pack of sliced mushrooms, they were on special 'two for $6.50' or $4 for one. When I moved the specials tag the price was $3.50... It is not the first time that I’ve noticed something like this," she told <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/coles-customer-catches-supermarket-in-dead-dodgy-practice-062334548.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Yahoo News Australia</em></a>.</p> <p>"Clearly Coles put the price up to make the 'special' look better but forgot to take off the original price ticket."</p> <p>After taking the mushrooms to the checkout and being charged $4 for the one pack, Element asked to speak to a manager and called out the "deceptive advertising".  </p> <p>Staff provided a refund for the mushrooms and allowed the shopper to keep the produce before "literally running" to remove the offending tag from the shelf.</p> <p>Despite the small price discrepancy, the shopper believes the issue lies with the dishonestly of the supermarket giant, rather than with the small 50 cent disparity. </p> <p>"Sadly I think it's what we've come to expect from large corporations determined to make massive profits at the expense of their customers. There's total disregard for morality of their behaviour... It's dead dodgy" she said.</p> <p>Coles confirmed to <em>Yahoo News</em> the price tag in question at the Canberra store has been "corrected", however, it did not respond to questions regarding accusations that the supermarket was doing it on purpose.</p> <p>"Coles takes clear and accurate pricing information on tickets very seriously," a spokesperson said. "We always aim to ensure that our specials represent value for our customers and have confirmed that the special tickets were indeed correct in these instances."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Yahoo News / Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Inside Aussie couple's Coles wedding

<p>A South Australian couple have tied the knot after seven years together, in the place where their relationship first began, Coles. </p> <p>Elisabeth Pel and Harley Liebelt, are former Coles workers who found love in the cereal aisle of a Coles in Mount Barker in 2016. </p> <p>Since then, they have built a family together and decided to tie the knot two weeks ago. </p> <p>“We worked for Coles Mount Barker, SA, for four years and we met each other in the grocery department,” Elisabeth told <em>7News</em>. </p> <p>“We have since had a beautiful son together and two weeks ago we finally got married after seven years.”</p> <p>She then said that it had been the couple's dream to have their wedding photos taken at the Coles store where they met - and their photographer, Jacob Jennings, was happy to oblige. </p> <p>“Our photographer is an absolute wonderful human and when I suggested to him that we should take some photos at the Coles store we met in and the same aisle we met in he jumped at the idea!” the happy bride said. </p> <p>“So, on December 8 we went into the store in the afternoon and took photos.</p> <p>“These photos are more than I could have asked for.</p> <p>“We felt absolutely out of place but he made it wonderful and the store manager was also wonderful.”</p> <p>Their wedding photos have also received a lot of love on social media. </p> <p>“This is so fantastic in every way,” one said. </p> <p> “Damn, this is the best," another added. </p> <p> “I can’t deal,” a third wrote. </p> <p>A Coles spokesperson also congratulated the couple: “We are thrilled that two of our former team members found love and were able to return to where it all began for them.”</p> <p><em>Images: Jacob Jennings Instagram</em></p>

Relationships

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Jacqui Lambie fires up on Coles and Woolies

<p>Jacqui Lambie has taken aim at Coles and Woolworths, after an inquiry has been launched against the supermarket giants. </p> <p>The supermarkets look set to be ordered to front up to a senate inquiry, to examine whether they are price gouging to get record profits amid a cost of living crisis.</p> <p>However, Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie said the supermarkets should face more than just an inquiry, and called on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to take real action. </p> <p>“Let’s be honest, they are like a bloody cartel,” she told <em>Sky News</em> on Monday. </p> <p>“I think what I find really shameful … is that we’ve got to run another inquiry to tell us the same thing, when we know very well that if we bulked up the (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) and gave it more powers they could actually fix this."</p> <p>“Where is the prime minister? Where is he?”</p> <p>Before the inquiry can officially be launched, the competition watchdog requires a referral from the Treasurer. </p> <p>Senator Lambie's opinions come after the Agriculture Minister Murray Watt called on the supermarket chains to freeze the price of a leg of Christmas ham, as Aussies continue to struggle with the cost of living crisis. </p> <p>“We know families are doing it tough at the moment and the cost of a lot of things is going up,” the Queensland senator said.</p> <p>“Presents for the kids, fuel to get to the other side of town to see your parents, fresh seafood as well as drinks, the cost of Christmas can really add up.”</p> <p>“Anything that can be done to give families a hand during this time would really be beneficial.”</p> <p>Coles and Woolworths have both insisted they will not be looking to hike up prices as it gets closer to the silly season, as both supermarkets have committed to dropping prices of popular Christmas items. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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Bring a plate! What to take to Christmas lunch that looks impressive (but won’t break the bank)

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-ball-14718">Lauren Ball</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-kirkegaard-1401256">Amy Kirkegaard</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/breanna-lepre-1401257">Breanna Lepre</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-burch-438717">Emily Burch</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>Christmas lunch is at your friend’s house this year, and they’ve asked you to bring a plate. Money is tight. So, you find yourself wondering, “What’s cheap, healthy but also looks impressive?”</p> <p>While a tray of mangoes would certainly be a cheap, healthy and colourful contribution, you want to look as if you’ve put in a bit of effort.</p> <p>If you’re struggling for inspiration, here are some tried and tested ideas.</p> <h2>First, choose your ingredients</h2> <p>Check your pantry for inspiration or ingredients. Crackers, dried fruit or nuts are great ideas for a charcuterie board. You can use herbs and spices to add flavour to dishes, or you could use up packets of dried pasta to make a <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/healthy-easy-recipes/salmon-and-pasta-salad">pasta salad</a>. This is also a great way to clean out your pantry.</p> <p>Focus on fruit and vegetables that are in season, so are cheaper and more readily available. Keep an eye out at your local fruit and veggie shop or market as it will usually have in-season fruit and vegetables in bulk quantities at reduced prices. Check out <a href="http://seasonalfoodguide.com/australia-general-seasonal-fresh-produce-guide-fruits-vegetables-in-season-availability.html">this seasonal food guide</a> to help you plan your Christmas menu.</p> <p>Ask around for deals by chatting to your local butcher, fishmonger or grocer and let them know your budget. They may suggest cheaper cuts of meat (such as, <a href="https://www.australianbutchersguild.com.au/the-blog/the-abg-blog/underrated-cuts-of-beef/">oyster</a>, <a href="https://www.australianbeef.com.au/know-your-meat/beef-cuts/">blades, rump caps</a>). Try cooking <a href="https://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipes/slow-cooker-corned-beef-mustard-sauce-recipe/z47lwrbv?r=entertaining/9clz7475&amp;h=entertaining">corned beef</a> or <a href="https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-roast-chicken">roast chicken</a> in a slow cooker with lots of vegetables. Slow-cooked meals can be frozen and can come in handy for left-overs.</p> <p>Lean into <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4608274/">legumes</a>. These are packed with fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. They are also budget-friendly and a great way to add texture to salads. Tinned chickpeas, or cannellini, kidney, or butter beans are quick and easy additions that can make filling dishes go further. You could even turn tinned chickpeas into homemade hommus for a healthy and delicious side dish. Check out these healthy legume <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/healthy-easy-recipes/filter/keywords--legumes">recipes</a>.</p> <h2>7 ways to keep food costs down this Christmas</h2> <p><strong>1. Plan ahead</strong></p> <p>Plan your menu by asking how many people are coming and checking for any food preferences or dietary requirements. Check for items you already have at home, and make a shopping list for only what you <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/BFJ-12-2017-0726/full/html">need</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Use free recipes</strong></p> <p>Use free online recipe collections and e-books tailored for budget cooking that can help you design your Christmas menu to meet your budget. This <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/uploads/Our-Guide-to-the-Perfect-Christmas-Feast.pdf">one</a> was created by a group of <a href="https://dietitiansaustralia.org.au/working-dietetics/standards-and-scope/role-accredited-practising-dietitian">accredited practising dietitians</a> and has healthy, budget friendly recipes and ideas. You could also try this budget friendly collection of Christmas recipes from <a href="https://www.taste.com.au/recipes/collections/budget-christmas-recipes">taste</a>.</p> <p><strong>3. Involve the family</strong></p> <p>Get together with other family members and make it a challenge to see who can make the cheapest, most delicious dish. Get the kids involved in fun activities, such as making a DIY gingerbread house or putting together mixed skewers for the barbecue.</p> <p><strong>4. Pool your resources</strong></p> <p>Larger quantities of a single dish will be cheaper than multiple different dishes (and easier to prepare).</p> <p><strong>5. Frozen is fine</strong></p> <p>Use frozen fruits and vegetables if you need to. These can have just as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25526594/">many vitamins and minerals</a> as fresh, are often cheaper than fresh produce and last longer. Try using frozen berries to decorate the pavlova or add them to your favourite cake, muffin or pie.</p> <p><strong>6. Make your own drinks</strong></p> <p>You could make your own drinks, such as home-brewed iced tea. See if anyone in your family has a soda stream you can borrow to make sparkling mineral water. Add some freshly squeezed lemon or lime for extra flavour.</p> <p><strong>7. Reduce waste</strong></p> <p>Use your own crockery and re-use leftovers to reduce waste. After all, washing up is cheaper than buying plastic or paper plates and better for the environment. Remember to save any leftovers and re-use them. Leftover fresh vegetables could be used to make a hearty soup or chutney.</p> <h2>It doesn’t have to be perfect</h2> <p>Christmas comes and goes quickly. If your cooking ideas don’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. Choosing healthy foods on a budget is important all year around, so you may like to think about trying these tips throughout the years to come. <!-- 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/196565/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/lauren-ball-14718"><em>Lauren Ball</em></a><em>, Professor of Community Health and Wellbeing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-kirkegaard-1401256">Amy Kirkegaard</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/breanna-lepre-1401257">Breanna Lepre</a>, Research Fellow, Mater Research Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-burch-438717">Emily Burch</a>, Dietitian and Researcher, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</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/bring-a-plate-what-to-take-to-christmas-lunch-that-looks-impressive-but-wont-break-the-bank-196565">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Amazing money-saving hack hidden in Coles and Woolies Christmas shopping bags

<p>Woolworths and Coles have released specially designed paper bags ahead of the Christmas period, with many praising their multi-purpose usage. </p> <p>The 25 cent bags feature a Christmas design, and are meant to be cut open and reused as wrapping paper for Christmas presents. </p> <p>Shoppers have been sharing their delight at the discovery on social media, with many praising the supermarket giants for encouraging recycling. </p> <p>A member of the North Shore Mums Facebook group shared the revelation, writing, "PSA: the Christmas woolies bags are designed to be cut open and used as wrapping paper."</p> <p>Both Coles and Woolworths bags include cutting lines to help those planning to use them as wrapping this festive season.</p> <p>They added an edit to the post explaining the bags could also be cut into squares around the decorations and used as gift tags.</p> <p>Other alternatives to pricey wrapping paper include tea towels, paper that has been decorated by children in the family or making the most out of reusable gift bags which can be collected and saved for the next occasion.</p> <p>With many families anxious of excess spending during the festive period in the face of the ongoing cost of living crisis, the reusable bags are set to be a welcome hack for those trying to be money conscious this Christmas. </p> <p><em>Image credits: 9Honey</em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 16px 0px 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: 'Proxima Nova', system-ui, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Fira Sans', 'Droid Sans', 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 18px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 28px; vertical-align: baseline; caret-color: #333333; color: #333333;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant-caps: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span></p>

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Coles and Woolies branded "price gougers" by disgruntled shopper

<p>It's no secret that while millions of Aussies are struggling to put food on the table during the ongoing cost of living crisis, supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths are raking in record-breaking profits. </p> <p>While the unreasonable inflation of grocery prices is endlessly frustrating, it seems as though there's nothing everyday shoppers can do to avoid the price increases. </p> <p>But that didn't stop one frustrated Aussie from making a statement against the supermarket chains. </p> <p>The man from Sydney shared a video of him targeting Coles and Woolies shops in the Eastern Suburbs, as he chose to rephrase their taglines.</p> <p>Heading to a Woolies Metro in Bondi Junction, he printed on the logo, "The price gouge people", playing on their slogan of "The fresh food people".</p> <p>He then went to Coles in Rose Bay, reprinting their logo of the pointed down hand with the phrase, "Down, down, morality down", referencing the "down, down, prices are down" jingle.</p> <p>The posted a video of his antics to Instagram, captioning his antics, "So over this bull***t duopoly that Australia just puts up with for some reason. Using inflation as a smoke screen to rake in billions by price gouging people during a cost of living crisis."</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-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CwbFvB4hX0-/?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/CwbFvB4hX0-/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by NOTNOT (@notnotcamscott)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"There’s a reason why Coles and Woolworths make double the profit margins of other supermarkets in comparable markets overseas. 2/3 domination of our market leaves battlers with no time to seek out alternatives, no choice but to give into their greed."</p> <p>The video was quickly met with a flood of support, with one person writing, "When you inevitably get a fine for this, please put up a GoFundMe on Reddit and I will donate to cover part of the cost. Thanks for doing something more people should be doing!"</p> <p>Another person wrote, "I love how you can hold some tools and wear high-vis and nobody blinks and eye in this country", while several more commenters dubbed the man a "legend". </p> <p>Speaking to <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/disgruntled-shopper-sabotages-woolworths-and-coles-signs-the-price-gouge-people-072137676.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Yahoo News</em></a>, Woolworths confirmed that the new signage had been removed from their Bondi store, and said they are committed to helping families during the cost of living crisis.</p> <p>"We're acutely aware of the pressure that's being placed on Australian families through cost of living increases, whether they are our customers or our team members," a spokesperson said.</p> <p>"And we're doing more everyday to help customers spend less with us."</p> <p>A spokesperson for Coles also told <em>Yahoo</em>, "We know cost-of-living pressures are front-of-mind for our customers and are always looking for ways to help their dollars stretch further. This week, Coles announced it will bring down the price of more than 500 products for at least three months."</p> <p>"We value feedback from our customers, and encourage them to let us know about their shopping experience through our normal feedback channel – Tell Coles – or through our dedicated customer care team."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

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Coles praised for helping small town through cost of living crisis

<p dir="ltr">Coles has been praised for the innovative way they are helping a small Aussie town to combat the ongoing cost of living crisis. </p> <p dir="ltr">The supermarket giant has started contributing to a community pantry in the coastal town of Ulladulla, 200km south of Sydney, which gives struggling locals basic grocery staples.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Little Free Food Pantry in Ulladulla was set up by local woman Coralie Smith and her mother Melissa, who were on a mission to reduce food waste, while also give back to their community as the cost of living continues to take hold. </p> <p dir="ltr">The motto "take what you need, give what you can" is plastered along the top of the pantry, set up outside the local scout hall, designed for people to help themselves to food to feed their families.</p> <p dir="ltr">Most of the food in the community cupboard has been donated by the local Coles supermarket, which provides a range of baked items, meats and fresh produce daily.</p> <p dir="ltr">Woolworths has also contributed items to the pantry every week, while also being topped up by generous locals. </p> <p dir="ltr">One local woman named Michelle has been using the service for almost three months. </p> <p dir="ltr">Before the pantry was established, Michelle was only able to afford to eat just one meal a day. </p> <p dir="ltr">"I'm working three jobs because of the high interest rates and the cost of living," she told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em>. "When I collected my first hamper all I could do is cry".</p> <p dir="ltr">The first time she was offered food she felt extremely "overwhelmed" but "now I'm definitely eating more, and am able to keep up with my mortgage and bills".</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook / Shutterstock</em></p>

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Women get far more migraines than men – a neurologist explains why, and what brings relief

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/danielle-wilhour-1337610">Danielle Wilhour</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-colorado-anschutz-medical-campus-4838">University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus</a></em></p> <p>A migraine is far <a href="https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/what-is-migraine/">more than just a headache</a> – it’s a debilitating disorder of the nervous system.</p> <p>People who have migraines experience severe throbbing or pulsating pain, typically on one side of the head. The pain is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and <a href="https://theconversation.com/migraine-sufferers-have-treatment-choices-a-neurologist-explains-options-beyond-just-pain-medication-181348">extreme sensitivity to light or sound</a>. An attack may last for hours or days, and to ease the suffering, some people spend time isolated in dark, quiet rooms.</p> <p>About 800 million people worldwide <a href="https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2021.21857">get migraine headaches</a>; in the U.S. alone, <a href="https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/what-is-migraine/">about 39 million</a>, or approximately 12% of the population, have them regularly.</p> <p>And most of these people are women. More than <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/04/16/150525391/why-women-suffer-more-migraines-than-men">three times as many women</a> as compared to men get migraines. For women ages 18 to 49, migraine is the leading <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s10194-020-01208-0">cause of disability throughout the world</a>.</p> <p>What’s more, research shows that women’s migraines are <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-020-04643-8">more frequent, more disabling and longer-lasting</a> than men’s. Women are more likely than men to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-015-2156-7">seek medical care and prescription drugs</a> for migraines. And women who have migraines <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s10194-021-01281-z">tend to have more mental health issues</a>, including anxiety and depression.</p> <p><a href="https://som.cuanschutz.edu/Profiles/Faculty/Profile/29586">As a board-certified neurologist</a> who specializes in headache medicine, I find the gender differences in migraines to be fascinating. And some of the reasons why these differences exist may surprise you.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lorXYK2OtAA?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">A variety of medications and therapies offer relief for migraines.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Migraines and hormones</h2> <p>There are several factors behind why men and women experience migraine attacks differently. These include hormones, genetics, how certain genes are activated or deactivated – an <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/epigenetics">area of study called epigenetics</a> – and the environment.</p> <p>All of these factors play a role in shaping the structure, function and adaptability of the brain when it comes to migraines. The hormones <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/estrogen-vs-progesterone#functions">estrogen and progesterone</a>, through different mechanisms, play a role in regulating many biological functions. They affect various chemicals in the brain and may contribute to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/aws175">functional and structural differences</a> in specific brain regions that are involved in the development of migraines. Additionally, sex hormones can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-020-04643-8">quickly change the size of blood vessels</a>, which can predispose people to migraine attacks.</p> <p>During childhood, both boys and girls have an <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0333102409355601">equal chance of experiencing migraines</a>. It’s estimated that about <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557813/">10% of all children will have them</a> at some point. But when girls reach puberty, their likelihood of getting migraines increases.</p> <p>That’s due to the <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fmolb.2018.00073">fluctuating levels of sex hormones</a>, primarily <a href="https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/estrogens-effects-on-the-female-body">estrogen</a>, associated with puberty – although other hormones, including <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/24562-progesterone">progesterone</a>, may be involved too.</p> <p>Some girls have their first migraine around the time <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jnr.23903">of their first menstrual cycle</a>. But migraines are often most common and intense <a href="https://doi.org/10.1136%2Fbmj.39559.675891.AD">during a woman’s reproductive and child-bearing years</a>.</p> <p>Researchers estimate about 50% to 60% of women with migraines <a href="https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/menstrual-migraine-treatment-and-prevention/">experience menstrual migraines</a>. These migraines typically occur in the days leading up to menstruation or during menstruation itself, when the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s10194-012-0424-y">drop in estrogen levels can trigger migraines</a>. Menstrual migraines can be more severe and last longer than migraines at other times of the month.</p> <p>A class of medicines that came out in the 1990’s – <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/triptan-migraine#side-effects">triptans</a> – are commonly used to treat migraines; certain triptans can be used specifically for menstrual migraines. Another category of medications, called <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/11086-non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-medicines-nsaids">nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs</a>, have also been effective at lessening the discomfort and length of menstrual migraines. So can a variety of birth control methods, which help by keeping hormone levels steady.</p> <h2>Migraine with aura</h2> <p>But women who have <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-with-aura/symptoms-causes/syc-20352072">migraine with aura</a>, which is a distinct type of migraine, should generally avoid using estrogen containing hormonal contraceptives. The combination can increase the risk of stroke because estrogen can promote <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.thromres.2020.05.008">the risk of blood clot formation</a>. Birth control options for women with auras include progesterone-only birth control pills, the Depo-Provera shot, and intrauterine devices.</p> <p>Auras affect about 20% of the people who have migraines. Typically, prior to the migraine, the person most commonly begins to see dark spots and zigzag lines. Less often, about 10% of the time, an inability to speak clearly, or tingling or weakness on one side of the body, also occurs. These symptoms slowly build up, generally last less than an hour before disappearing, and are commonly followed by head pain.</p> <p>Although these symptoms resemble what happens during a stroke, an aura tends to occur slowly, over minutes – while strokes usually happen instantaneously.</p> <p>That said, it may be difficult and dangerous for a nonmedical person to try to discern the difference between the two conditions, particularly in the midst of an attack, and determine whether it’s migraine with aura or a stroke. If there is any uncertainty as to what’s wrong, a call to 911 is most prudent.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Tn91p-PY2h8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">If you’re a woman and your migraines happen at the same time every month, it might be menstrual migraines.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Migraines during pregnancy, menopause</h2> <p>For women who are pregnant, migraines can be particularly <a href="https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=headaches-in-early-pregnancy-134-3">debilitating during the first trimester</a>, a time when morning sickness is common, making it difficult to eat, sleep or hydrate. Even worse, missing or skipping any of these things can make migraines more likely.</p> <p>The good news is that migraines generally tend to lessen in severity and frequency throughout pregnancy. For some women, they disappear, especially as the pregnancy progresses. But then, for those who experienced them during pregnancy, migraines tend <a href="https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/postpartum-headache/">to increase after delivery</a>.</p> <p>This can be due to the decreasing hormone levels, as well as sleep deprivation, stress, dehydration and other environmental factors related to caring for an infant.</p> <p>Migraine attacks can also increase during <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21608-perimenopause">perimenopause</a>, a woman’s transitional phase to menopause. Again, fluctuating hormone levels, <a href="https://www.verywellhealth.com/perimenopause-and-migraines-4009311">particularly estrogen, trigger them</a>, along with the chronic pain, depression and sleep disturbances that can occur during this time.</p> <p>But as menopause progresses, migraines generally decline. In some cases, they completely go away. In the meantime, there are treatments that can help lessen both the frequency and severity of migraines throughout menopause, including <a href="https://www.webmd.com/menopause/menopause-hormone-therapy">hormone replacement therapy</a>. Hormone replacement therapy contains female hormones and is used to replace those that your body makes less of leading up to or after menopause.</p> <h2>Men’s migraines</h2> <p>The frequency and severity of migraines slightly increase for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0333102409355601">men in their early 20s</a>. They tend to slow down, peak again around age 50, then slow down or stop altogether. Why this happens is not well understood, although a combination of genetic factors, environmental influences and lifestyle choices may contribute to the rise.</p> <p>Medical researchers still have more to learn about why women and men get migraines. Bridging the gender gap in migraine research not only empowers women, but it also advances understanding of the condition as a whole and creates a future where migraines are better managed.<!-- 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/207606/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/danielle-wilhour-1337610">Danielle Wilhour</a>, Assistant Professor of Neurology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-colorado-anschutz-medical-campus-4838">University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus</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/women-get-far-more-migraines-than-men-a-neurologist-explains-why-and-what-brings-relief-207606">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Should GPs bring up a patient’s weight in consultations about other matters? We asked 5 experts

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/au/team#fron-jackson-webb">Fron Jackson-Webb</a>, <a href="http://www.theconversation.com/">The Conversation</a></em></p> <p>Australian of the Year and body positivity advocate Taryn Brumfitt has <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/healthcare/doctors-should-avoid-discussing-patient-s-weight-australian-of-the-year-says-20230707-p5dmhv.html">called for</a> doctors to avoid discussing a patient’s weight when they seek care for unrelated matters.</p> <p>A 15-minute consultation isn’t long enough to provide support to change behaviours, Brumfitt says, and GPs don’t have enough training and expertise to have these complex discussions.</p> <p>“Many people in larger bodies tell us they have gone to the doctor with something like a sore knee, and come out with a ‘prescription’ for a very restrictive diet, and no ongoing support,” Brumfitt <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/healthcare/doctors-should-avoid-discussing-patient-s-weight-australian-of-the-year-says-20230707-p5dmhv.html">told the Nine newspapers</a>.</p> <p>By raising the issue of weight, Brumfitt says, GPs also risk turning patients off seeking care for other health concerns.</p> <p>So should GPs bring up a patient’s weight in consultations about other matters? We asked 5 experts.</p> <p><strong>Brett Montgomery - GP academic</strong></p> <p>Yes, sometimes – but with great care.</p> <p>I agree that weight stigma is damaging, and insensitively raising weight in consultations can <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0251566" target="_blank" rel="noopener">hurt people's feelings and create barriers</a>to other aspects of health care.</p> <p>I also agree people can sometimes be “overweight” yet <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0287218" target="_blank" rel="noopener">quite healthy</a>, and that common measures and categories of weight are <a href="https://theconversation.com/bmi-alone-will-no-longer-be-treated-as-the-go-to-measure-for-weight-management-an-obesity-medicine-physician-explains-the-seismic-shift-taking-place-208174">questionable</a>.</p> <p>On the other hand, I know obesity <a href="https://www.racgp.org.au/FSDEDEV/media/documents/RACGP/Position%20statements/Obesity-prevention-and-management.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">is associated with</a> heart disease, joint problems, diabetes and cancers.</p> <p>GPs should be ready to help people with their weight when they want help. <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/377/bmj-2021-069719.full?ijkey=FnARkmvxLOMFvlb&amp;keytype=ref">Our assistance somewhat effective</a>, though sadly dietary efforts often have minimal effect on weight in the long term. Meanwhile, treatments causing larger weight changes (<a href="https://insightplus.mja.com.au/2021/10/bariatric-surgery-public-system-access-still-terrible/">surgery</a> and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41366-022-01176-2">some medicines</a> are often financially inaccessible.</p> <p>I feel safe discussing weight when my patient raises the issue. Fearing hurting people, I often avoid raising it myself. I focus instead on health rather than weight, discussing physical activity and healthy diet – these are good things for people of any size.</p> <p><strong>Emma Beckett - Nutrition scientist</strong></p> <p>No. It’s not likely to succeed. Large systematic reviews bringing together multiple studies of multiple weight-loss diets show weight loss is not generally maintained long term (<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32238384/">12 months</a> to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/0802982">four years</a>).</p> <p>The idea that weight is about willpower is outdated. The current body of evidence <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-the-weight-set-point-and-why-does-it-make-it-so-hard-to-keep-weight-off-195724">suggests</a> we each have a weight set point that our body defends. This is determined by genetics and environment more so than education.</p> <p>There may be associations between weight and health outcomes, but losing weight <a href="https://theconversation.com/just-because-youre-thin-doesnt-mean-youre-healthy-101185">does not necessarily equate</a> with improving health.</p> <p>Fat stigma and fatphobia are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2866597/">harmful too</a> and can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4381543/">compromise access to health care</a>.</p> <p>Instead, consider asking a better question. Healthy eating reduces disease risk <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3935663/">regardless of weight</a>. So maybe ask how many vegetables are your patients eating. Would they like to see a dietitian to discuss strategies for a better-quality diet?</p> <p><strong>Liz Sturgiss - GP/researcher </strong></p> <p>No. A <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33211585/">US study</a> estimates it would take a family doctor 131% of their work hours to implement all preventive health-care recommendations. It's impossible to address every recommendation for preventative care at every consultation. One of the key skills of a GP is balancing the patient and doctor agenda.</p> <p><a href="https://www.obesityevidencehub.org.au/collections/treatment/weight-bias-and-stigma-in-health-care">Weight stigma</a> can deter people from seeking health care, so raising weight when a patient doesn't have it on their agenda can be harmful. A strong <a href="https://academic.oup.com/fampra/article/38/5/644/6244494?login=false">therapeutic relationship</a> is critical for safe and effective health care to address weight. </p> <p>Weight is always on my agenda when there is unexpected weight loss. If a patient has rapid weight loss, I am concerned about an undetected <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7283307/">cancer</a> or infection. Additionally, I am increasingly seeing patients who are unable to afford food, who often have <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/dental-oral-health/oral-health-and-dental-care-in-australia/contents/introduction">poor oral health</a>, who lose weight due to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1747-0080.12580">poverty</a>. Weight loss for the wrong reasons is also a very concerning part of general practice.</p> <p><strong>Nick Fuller - Obesity researcher </strong></p> <p>Yes. GPs should play a role in the early detection of weight issues and direct patients to evidence-based care to slow this progression. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31032548/">Research</a> shows many people with obesity are motivated to lose weight (48%). <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31032548/">Most</a> want their clinician to initiate a conversation about weight management and treatment options.</p> <p>However, this conversation <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32385580/">rarely occurs</a>, resulting in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33621413/">significant delays to treatment</a>.</p> <p>Starting the conversation presents challenges. Although obesity is a complex disease related to multiple factors, it's still <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25752756/">highly stigmatised</a>in our society and even in the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23144885/">clinical setting</a>. Sensitivity is required and the wording the clinician uses is important to make the patient feel safe and avoid placing blame on them. Patients often <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20823355/">prefer terms</a> such as “weight” and “BMI” (body mass index) over “fatness,” “size” or “obesity”, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27354290/">particularly women</a>.</p> <p>Measuring weight, height and waist circumference should be <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33621413/">considered routine in primary care</a>. But this needs to be done without judgement, and in collaboration with the patient.</p> <p><strong>Helen Truby - Nutrition scientist </strong></p> <p>Yes. A high body weight contributes to many chronic conditions that negatively impact the <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/australias-health/summaries">quality of life and mental health</a> of millions of Australians.</p> <p>Not all GPs feel confident having weight conversations, given the sensitive nature of weight and its stigma. GPs' words matter – they are a <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/nbu.12320">trusted source</a> of health information. It’s critical GPs gain the skills to know when and how to have <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-019-1026-4">positive weight conversations</a>.</p> <p>GPs need to offer supportive and affordable solutions. But effective specialist weight management programs are few and far between. More equitable access to programs is essential so GPs have referral pathways after conversations about weight.</p> <p>GPs' time is valuable. Activating this critical workforce is essential to meet the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/national-obesity-strategy-2022-2032?language=en">National Obesity Strategy.</a></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/au/team#fron-jackson-webb">Fron Jackson-Webb</a>, Deputy Editor and Senior Health Editor, <a href="http://www.theconversation.com/">The Conversation</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/should-gps-bring-up-a-patients-weight-in-consultations-about-other-matters-we-asked-5-experts-209681">original article</a>.</em></p>

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