What we're doing about overweight and obesity
The causes of overweight and obesity are complex and deeply embedded in the way we live. To address overweight and obesity it is vital that we have systems and policies to support people to live their healthiest lives.
Many connected factors lead people to become overweight or obese. Tackling such a complex issue requires a wide-ranging approach. Environment, social context, systems and policies all shape individual decisions.
We have many preventive health measures that support Australians to eat well and be active to reduce overweight and obesity.
Over the next 10 years, the National Obesity Strategy 2022-2032 will guide all governments and our partners as we take action to change the current conditions that promote weight gain and support those living with overweight and obesity. It will guide us to:
- make systemic changes to better support all Australians to maintain a healthy weight, support to prevent further weight gain or reduce weight in people already living with overweight or obesity
- develop prevention strategies to improve the environments and conditions around us, and support and empower people to live healthier lives
- better embed prevention, early intervention and treatment into our health care system
- have more positive discussions about healthy weight across society.
The framework for action includes 23 strategies, which cover our food and physical activity systems, building knowledge and skills in communities, and a focus on early intervention and supportive health care.
Creating equity, tackling weight stigma and discrimination, addressing wider determinants of health and sustainability and empowering personal responsibility to enable healthy living are key principles of the Strategy which will guide implementation at all levels.
Together we can create change and build an Australia that encourages and enables healthy weight and healthy living for all.
The development of the strategy has included:
- a National Obesity Summit – which brought together experts to look at the causes of obesity and what we can do about it
- national consultations – which gave people and organisations a chance to tell us what they thought the strategy should cover.
- the Select Senate Committee Inquiry into the Obesity Epidemic – which was to investigate the obesity epidemic in Australia.
- developed the National Preventive Health Strategy which will outline the overarching, long-term approach to prevention in Australia over the next 10 years.
- are acting on some of the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee into the Obesity Epidemic – see the final report
- work on policies and initiatives to support healthy food and nutrition and encourage Australians to be more active.
Initiatives and programs
We fund initiatives and programs to help reduce overweight and obesity in Australia, by encouraging people to:
National research helps us understand the extent and causes of overweight and obesity in Australia. This enables us to develop policies and programs that are relevant and effective. National research includes the:
- National Health Survey – surveyed close to 21,000 people about various aspects of their health
- Australian Health Survey – the largest health survey ever done in Australia, which looked at the years 2011 to 2013
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey – surveyed one-third of all First Nations Australians about their health
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare analysis of overweight and obesity among Australians.
Who we work with
To reduce overweight and obesity in Australia, we work with the:
- state and territory governments to implement the National Obesity Strategy
- National Health and Medical Research Council, including through Eat for Health, which contains the Australian Dietary Guidelines, and the Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, which collects data about Australians’ health, physical activity and diet
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, which reports on Australians’ health, physical activity and diet.