To mark World Obesity Day, the Morrison Government is launching Australia’s first National Obesity Strategy, which will help address overweight and obesity across the nation.
Australia’s strategy has two ambitious goals—to halt the rise and reverse the trend in the prevalence of obesity in adults and to reduce overweight and obesity in children and adolescents by at least five per cent by 2030.
Obesity is a complex health condition. It is influenced by social, environmental, and economic factors which can impact a person’s ability to maintain a healthy weight and, in turn, increase the risk of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
Making healthy choices is not always easy. The strategy recognises the importance of ensuring all Australians are empowered, enabled, and supported to make the best possible decisions about their health.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey from 2017–18 revealed that 67 per cent of Australian adults were overweight or obese (12.5 million people), an increase from 63.4 per cent since 2014-15.
If the current trend continues, more than 18 million Australians will be overweight or obese by 2030.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the strategy will have a multi-faceted, community-wide approach, working with a range of initiatives, sectors, and organisations.
“Our primary focus is on prevention and the factors which contribute to this major health issue. It will also support the 14 million Australians living with being overweight or obesity, to live a healthier life,” Minister Hunt said.
“We know Australians in good health are better able to lead fulfilling and productive lives, and can participate fully in their community, their jobs, and their education. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of our health and the economic benefits health can bring.”
Consistent with the Government’s National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030, no single action will be enough to prevent and reduce obesity, instead, a systems-based approach that tackles the environmental influences and empowers individuals will be critical.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said the strategy had been endorsed by the Morrison Government, as well as all state and territory health ministers.
“We will continue to work with our state and territory counterparts to identify key activities to drive the successful implementation of this strategy,” Minister Colbeck said.
Early consultation on the strategy included the Select Senate Committee Inquiry into the Obesity Epidemic (2018) and a National Obesity Summit (2019). This was complemented by two national public consultation processes (2019 and 2021) as well as additional targeted consultations.
The Morrison Government thanks the 2,750 individuals and organisations which participated in these consultations.
We also thank the Queensland Department of Health, which led the development of the strategy, supported by the Morrison Government and all state and territory governments.
The strategy can be found here.