More than 14 million people in Australia are overweight or obese. This includes 2 in every 3 adults, and 1 in every 4 children. By 2030, 18 million Australians or more than three quarters of the projected Australian population will be overweight or obese.
Concerningly, 1 in 5 Australian children aged 2 to 4 years are already overweight or obese. This is associated with a higher likelihood of being obese as an adult and an increased risk of premature death and disability. Being overweight or obese can have a major impact on a person’s life. It affects their health and wellbeing, and their social and economic opportunities. Obesity also impacts communities, society and the economy.
- There is significant commitment across Australia to address overweight and obesity, but amplified action is needed at a local, regional and national level.
- Over 90% of Australians think maintaining the community’s health is both a government and personal responsibility. There is a genuine need for partnerships and action across government and from many sectors.
To address this significant public health challenge, the Australian and state and territory governments, through the COAG Health Council, have agreed to develop a national obesity strategy.
The strategy proposes four priority areas:
- Supporting children and families: starting early to support healthy weight throughout life
- Mobilising people and communities: using knowledge, strengths and community connections to enable healthy weight
- Enabling active living: supporting a way of life that helps people move more throughout the day
- Building a healthier and more resilient food system: producing and promoting healthier food and drinks with little impact on the environment