Healthy Weight 2008 presents a national strategic framework for action to address the challenges of overweight and obesity in children and young people (ie aged 0-18 years) and their families. A four-year time frame will form the first phase of a long-term approach. To kick-start the work an initial set of actions commencing in 2004 is suggested. These would need to be implemented by the health sector in collaboration with their colleagues in government, the private and nongovernment sectors. Further action will be needed beyond the life of this plan to address the particular issues and settings relevant to adults and older Australians. Healthy Weight 2008 should be seen as a first step towards shaping Australia’s future for better health and wellbeing.

A key requirement will be to support young people and their families both in the home and in the wider community. To reach them and to address the underlying environmental and lifestyle causes of overweight in young people, a cross-sectoral, multi-settings approach will be needed. In addition to actions in specific settings, a number of key national level actions are required. Together these will focus on what can be done in practice and will identify those responsible for taking action.

The private and non-government sectors as well as the broader community have a vital role to play together with the public sector. Within government there is a clear need for action across a wide range of portfolios and levels of government, such as health, education, family and community services, environment, transport, sport and recreation, infrastructure and planning. A key success factor will be how well these different areas can work together.