Healthy Weight for Adults and Older Australians


Page last updated: 21 July 2011

The goals of The National Action Agenda to Address Overweight and Obesity in Adults and Older Australians are to:

1. Prevent weight gain at the population level.
2. Achieve better management of early risk.
3. Improve management of weight.

Of these, the most important is the prevention of weight gain at the population level. A focus on weight gain prevention avoids exacerbation of inappropriate dieting behaviours and the message is also equally relevant to all sections of the adult population.

Weight gain in adulthood significantly increases the risk of ill health and is independent and separate to other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. The risk for chronic disease gradually begins to rise with increasing levels of overweight (as measured by Body Mass Index — BMI). There is no clear cut threshold for serious complications which can arise.

Extended periods of weight gain are difficult to reverse and weight gain in adulthood is mostly due to increased deposits of body fat.

Achieving the three long-term goals depends on changing behaviour in the medium-term, and more immediate changes to environments and products. A combination of environmental and behavioural changes will be required to produce weight maintenance and weight loss in population groups.