The rates of overweight and obesity amongst adults and children have almost doubled over the last two decades. Indications are that these rates are continuing to rise.

The problem is of significant concern, because overweight and obesity are associated with a wide range of debilitating and life threatening conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, some cancers, osteoarthritis, kidney disease, gall bladder disease, respiratory and musculoskeletal problems.

In November 2002, Australian Health Ministers agreed that overweight and obesity are significant public health problems that threaten the health gains made by Australians in the last century. They decided the problem required an Australia-wide response, and agreed to establish a National Obesity Taskforce to develop a national action plan for tackling overweight and obesity, and to identify roles and responsibilities for implementing the national plan.