Healthy Weight for Adults and Older Australians

Whole Population - Cross-sector

Page last updated: 21 July 2011

A coalition of efforts is required to harness commitment and capacity to effectively prevent weight gain across the Australian population. To assess program effectiveness, there is a need for surveillance systems and instruments to accurately track health behaviours, and evidence on the effectiveness of interventions in Australian contexts.

Environments, products and services also contribute to people’s choices and behaviours. Collaboration across sectors can help to identify and facilitate actions outside the health sector that are conducive to health.

Outcomes sought:

Recurrent, reliable, timely information on the epidemiology of overweight and obesity in the Australian population.

Comprehensive information and evidence on the specific effects and potential impacts of interventions to prevent weight gain and address obesity within Australian settings.

National, state and local policies and regulations that promote environments, products and services which contribute to preventing weight gain.

Greater involvement of non-government organisations, the private sector and workplaces in all sectors in adopting and promoting environments, products and services which contribute to preventing weight gain, as part of their corporate social responsibility and sustainability strategies.

Actions:

Monitoring and surveillance

  • Develop an ongoing Australian monitoring and surveillance system covering food consumption, physical activity and weight status.
  • Continue to develop and expand the database on Australian food composition.
  • Encourage a research network of groups involved in nutrition, physical activity and obesity research, to foster collaborative research projects, tools, and priorities.
  • Identify policy relevant research priorities, including priorities for intervention research, economic analysis and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research.
  • Continue to investigate trends and patterns of health in relation to physical activity, nutrition and weight for different age and birth cohorts in longitudinal studies.

Food supply

  • Collaborate across sectors to identify common goals, interests and agreed initiatives to support healthier food choices. Such initiatives could include better information for consumers, particularly on labelling, and the provision of healthier, low energy-dense alternatives enabling people to make better food choices.
  • Encourage cooperative action between government, non-government and professional groups involved in chronic disease prevention.
  • Consider requirements for labelling on weight loss products, including a system that provides clear information about the efficacy of the product and basic health advice on effective weight loss.

Environments

  • Collaborate across sectors and with local government to implement environmental changes that promote physical activity, promote improved nutrition and reduce the risk of overweight and obesity. For example, improved sporting facilities and services and nutrition advice services.
  • Encourage employers to implement and support workplace programs and practices that contribute to preventing weight gain. This could include support for physical activity, showers and change facilities, advice and information, encouraging travel-blending or other healthy transport options and healthy food choices at competitive prices through workplace canteens and vending machines.