Australians 180,000 tonnes overweight & gaining 5,000 tonnes per year

8 Jul 2014

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) today called for a national coordinated action plan to address the obesity issue, following the release of a new "state of the nation" report by Roy Morgan Research this morning.

The research revealed Australians are carrying a combined total of 180,000 tonnes of excess weight, an increase of 30,000 tonnes since 2008.

Australians are gaining 5,000 tonnes per year. Around 11 million Australians are overweight by an average of 16.5 kilograms, which can have a dramatic effect on health and wellness.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said: "These statistics are symptoms of the obesity problem facing this nation with the full impact on rates of chronic disease, such as cancer and type II diabetes, yet to be realised."

"We urgently need the Federal government to develop a comprehensive national action plan that includes appropriate input from peak bodies. This includes reducing children's exposure to junk food marketing."

"We know self-regulation of junk food marketing is not working. Junk food companies and fast food chains have huge marketing budgets, which they use to target children and provide unhealthy food at low cost. Protecting children from junk food marketing and ensuring people have access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables can assist in helping people make better choices and lead healthier lives."

According to Ms Martin, the recent commitment to implementing the health star rating food labelling system is a good start to helping Australians to make healthy choices.

"With so many Australians overweight or obese and the number of people in the obese category growing, it is vital that there is  coordinated leadership at a federal level if we are to have any chance at stemming the growth of this serious health issue and reducing the future burden on our health system."