Two thirds of Australia’s adult population is overweight or obese – a growing concern for the future. With no easy solution in sight, the Bupa Health Foundation has partnered with Obesity Australia to support a strategy for practical solutions that might reverse this trend and lower our risk.
Obesity is a complex issue. Despite popular myth, the latest scientific findings show it goes far beyond the simple problem of lack of restraint in eating, the energy dense food supply, or lack of exercise. There are added complexities – the brain setting its own ‘set point’ for weight, the influence of maternal diet on epigenetics (the way in which our genes express themselves), the impacts of a variety of hormones ... and then there’s diet and exercise.
In a bid for successful action on obesity, interventions across the spectrum of health and society will be required, targeting health education, the food industry, government regulation and social pressure.
This view is fuelling Obesity Australia’s drive to develop the National Action Plan for obesity.
The Bupa Health Foundation partnered with Obesity Australia for the inaugural Obesity Australia Summit. Here, some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s most notable scientists and public health experts were brought together with a view to uniting disparate voices in the field and taking advantage of the latest science. The Summit was an important first step on the road to build momentum for the changes that are needed to make a real difference in the fight against obesity, from the roll-out of successful school programs, to looking at regulation, to acting on what we know of epigenetic changes.
But, just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, achieving change in the perception, prevalence and treatment of obesity will not happen overnight.
Keep an eye out for the outcomes and more in this space in the near future.