The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) has welcomed the
Federal Budget announcement of $10m for research
into chronic disease prevention, $10m for walking interventions and
$5 million to enable better GP interventions for patients with obesity, but
obesity prevention is still incredibly underfunded.
"Chronic disease is
having a serious and growing impact on Australians and their families, as well
as our economy and healthcare system. Currently 63% of adults and 27% of
children are overweight or obese - this puts them at greater risk of life-threatening
chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer,"
OPC Executive Manager Jane Martin said.
"It's good to see the Federal
Government commit $10million for research into chronic disease prevention and its
investments in walking and GP interventions, but there is so much
more that needs to be done to tackle our concerning obesity problem.
"Adult obesity cost the Commonwealth Government $6.06
billion in 2011-12 (in 2014-15 dollars) in both direct and indirect costs[i]. Real progress
requires the severity of the problem to be matched by an appropriate level of
funding and policy implementation."
In February, the
OPC worked with The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and Deakin
University to produce the Food Policy
Index which outlines where Australia is falling behind on world's
best practice to tackle the rise of obesity through unhealthy diets.
landmark report supports key actions by government to address the obesity epidemic,
- Develop and implement a long-term, comprehensive strategy
to address obesity.
- Take action to substantially reduce children's exposure to
junk food marketing.
- Introduce a health levy on sugar-sweetened beverages to
increase price by at least 20% with the funds used to support obesity
- Make the Health Star Rating System mandatory, to ensure it
is displayed on all packaged food products.
"Obesity is now one
of the leading causes of preventable death and disability in Australia. While
there's no silver bullet for reducing overweight and obesity rates, these are
key actions, which we know can make a significant difference to the health of all
Australians," Ms Martin said.
"We welcome a discussion on the potential
for these actions to address the obesity problem."
About the Obesity
Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) is a partnership between Cancer Council
Victoria, Diabetes Victoria and the Global Obesity Centre at Deakin University,
a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention.
The OPC advocates for evidence-based policy and regulatory change to address
overweight, obesity and unhealthy diets in Australia.
[i] Price Waterhouse Coopers, Weighing the cost of obesity - a case for
action, 2015, www.pwc.com.au/obesity; Duckett, S., Swerissen, H. and Wiltshire,
T. 2016, A sugary drinks tax: recovering the community costs of obesity,