Adolescence and young adulthood: an untapped window of opportunity for obesity prevention
|Adolescence and young adulthood: an untapped window of opportunity for obesity prevention||139.39 KB|
Adolescence and young adulthood (AYA) are formative life stages, second only to the first 1000 days. Yet young people have historically been ‘forgotten’ in our health system. Major health risk factors, like adolescent obesity, have largely been left untreated, resulting in significant chronic disease burdens and health costs later in life.
In Australia, strategies to address obesity have primarily been implemented disjointedly by different jurisdictions of government, which has meant that obesity responses across the country have been piecemeal. Current state-based interventions show modest effects on improving weight-related behaviours. Major fiscal and regulatory measures have yet to be implemented despite demonstrable public health benefits and public support.
The new National obesity strategy 2022–2032, which recognises the importance of engaging with youth, is a welcomed approach to coordinating obesity prevention Australia-wide. The challenge remains to ensure that meaningful AYA engagement is followed through with future interventions. The digitalisation of society poses future health challenges for AYA because of the likelihood of greater physical inactivity and ease of access to junk foods.