The ACT Government has set a goal of 'zero growth' for obesity in the ACT and the Healthy Weight Action Plan will guide our policies towards this goal.
Why does it matter?
The proportion of children in the ACT who are overweight or obese is 25%. For adults it has dramatically risen to 63.6% from just 22.9% in 1995. These individuals have a higher risk of disease and reduced lifespan and quality of life. Broader impacts on the community include greater pressure on the health system, decreased performance in schools and loss of productivity in the workplace.
How can the ACT Government make a difference?
The Healthy Weight Action Plan takes the agenda beyond the Health Portfolio to improve coordination across all arms of government.
It recognises that the imbalance between energy consumed and energy expended is in large part due to modern systems of transport and sedentary jobs, recreation and lifestyles along with the increasing availability and consumption of foods with high fat and sugar content.
Each of the ACT Government Directorates is engaged in activities that will make healthier choices easier across Canberra. The main areas of focus are the food environment, schools, workplaces, urban planning, social inclusion and evaluation.
The Healthy Weight Action Plan contains actions to reduce the availability of energy dense, nutrient poor foods, improve access to infrastructure for active recreation or transport and reduce the promotion of unhealthy foods.
What actions are schools to undertake?
There are two main actions for schools to contribute to the Healthy Weight Action Plan:
- Develop an ACT Government school food and drink policy with supporting guidelines that will mandate implementation of the
- National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines in ACT public schools.
When will we see results?
The plan is for a marathon, not a sprint. Success will only come with sustained changes to the way people live and a permanent cultural shift away from the unhealthy lifestyles that have become normal. For these reasons the Government acknowledges that the target of zero growth is an ambitious first step.