Submission made to Commonwealth Senate Inquiry into the Obesity Epidemic

A submission has been made to the Commonwealth Senate Inquiry into the Obesity Epidemic in Australia with a focus on childhood obesity. Over the last two decades, Nutrition and Dietetics at Flinders University has been at the forefront of building the evidence-base to guide effective child obesity prevention and management. Our research has also focused on research translation so that effective programs are available in the community. All 139 inquiry submissions are publically available here.

Recent child obesity research outcomes include the evaluation of the state-wide roll out of Parenting, Eating and Activity for Child Health (PEACH™) across Qld. The study findings have been published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Our staff are continuing to innovate in this space, including current feasibility testing of a new Health Online for Teens (HOT) Program for adolescents above a healthy weight (funded by the Heart Foundation).  The South Australian node of a NHMRC-funded Centre of Research Excellence in Early Prevention in Child Obesity) is also active at Flinders. The CRE is now half way through its five years of funding. Follow @CRE_EPOCH on Twitter for latest news and events. Over the next 18 months a number of resources will be launched. These will include a repository of early obesity prevention programs, and toolkits to support economic evaluation of obesity programs and the measurement of obesity-related behaviours in under-5’s.

While it is easy to be sceptical of yet another inquiry into the obesity epidemic, these political processes provide a crucial opportunity to garner political will and influence national policy and practice. National inquiries have given rise to previous initiatives such as the National Partnership Agreement on Preventative Health. A recent NSW inquiry has delivered a Premier’s Priority to Reduce Overweight and Obesity Rates in ChildrenBetter Prevention – A Healthy South Australia policy reflects a current opportunity in South Australia to re-gain balance between preventative and treatment services, including nutrition promotion, and obesity prevention and management for children and families.

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