The Obesity Epidemic in Australia

The Senate Select Committee into the Obesity Epidemic in Australia was established on 16 May 2018. The committee is composed of 7 Senators and was tasked with inquiring into and reporting on the following terms of reference:

  • The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children in Australia and changes in these rates over time;
  • The causes of the rise in overweight and obesity in Australia;
  • The short and long-term harm to health associated with obesity, particularly in children in Australia;
  • The short and long-term economic burden of obesity, particularly related to obesity in children in Australia;
  • The effectiveness of existing policies and programs introduced by Australian governments to improve diets and prevent childhood obesity;
  • Evidence-based measures and interventions to prevent and reverse childhood obesity, including experiences from overseas jurisdictions;
  • The role of the food industry in contributing to poor diets and childhood obesity in Australia; and
  • any other related matters.

This report is comprised of 10 chapters:

  • Chapter 1 provides some background information around the prevalence of obesity, and defines some key terms;
  • Chapter 2 discusses the importance of language and the high degree of stigma attached to the term 'obesity';
  • Chapter 3 examines strategic policy directions which could help tackling obesity;
  • Chapter 4 discusses the issue of food labelling;
  • Chapter 5 focuses on the critical role of reformulation to improve the availability of healthier products;
  • Chapter 6 examines the benefits of introducing a tax on sugary drinks;
  • Chapter 7 focuses on the issues associated with the marketing and advertising of discretionary foods;
  • Chapter 8 discusses the importance of education campaigns;
  • Chapter 9 looks at the benefits of health care interventions; and
  • Chapter 10 discusses promising multi-strategy prevention programs

The Obesity epidemic in Australia (Final Report)

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