The purpose of this essay is review the strategies that are aimed at either preventing obesity or decreasing the burden of health related issues caused by obesity that currently exists within Australia. Obesity is identified as one of the Australia’s National Health Priority areas. Globally obesity ranks as the fifth leading cause of mortality. Obesity is also a major contributor to the burden of diabetes at 44%, ischaemic heart disease at 23% and around 7 to 41% for certain cancers.1 In this essay I will be focusing on childhood obesity, where it is estimated that in 2010, 43 million children under the age of 5 years will be categorised as being overweight or obese.1 Queensland unfortunately has the highest rate of obesity within
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Obesity is measured by the Body Mass Index formula, which can easily define a person into 4 categories of underweight, normal weight and overweight and obese within adults. But this measurement is not so reliable for children as it doesn’t allow for effects of age, sex, puberty, race or ethnicity on growth. Many countries tend to use their own country-specific age-related growth charts.6 See Appendix 1: Body Mass Index Table and Calculations and Appendix 2: Australia’s growth chart.
Interwoven with obesity is nutrition, and as we all know nutrition plays an important role in health and wellbeing of children, it promotes growth, improves quality of life by enhancing physical and cognitive development, helps build resistance to infection and protects against chronic diseases.7,8 Poor diet as mentioned previously increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. The National Health and Medical Research Council set the dietary guidelines for