OPC welcomes Coalition Government's pledge to invest in obesity prevention programs

18 Nov 2014

The Obesity Policy Coalition has congratulated the Coalition Government for its pre-election commitment to tackle rising rates of obesity and associated health conditions in Victoria.

Premier Denis Napthine and Health Minister David Davis say that if re-elected, the Coalition will invest a further $127 million over four years to support preventative health initiatives in Victoria.

This will include $40 million for primary and preventative healthcare in local communities, $22 million to support Victorians at risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions and $20 million to continue the population health initiative, Healthy Together Victoria.

“Recent figures show that almost half of Victoria’s population are overweight or obese (I), putting them at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The Government has a strong track record in prevention, in particular through Healthy Together Victoria. Ongoing and sustained Government investment into the prevention system, including programs that educate and empower people to lead healthy lifestyles, such as the Healthy Together Victoria initiative, is vital.” Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the OPC, says.

Ms Martin warned that no single initiative in isolation can be expected to have a substantial effect on overweight and obesity rates. “However, a comprehensive package of policies and programs has the potential to shape the environment for Victorians and facilitate healthy diets, active lifestyles and reduce obesity-related health problems.”

The OPC urges all Victorian parties to commit to five key actions to address the obesity problem:

  1. Develop a comprehensive plan for action on obesity, drawing on the experience of other states and territories.
  2. Take active steps to reduce children’s exposure to marketing of unhealthy food, especially through junior sport.
  3. Improve everyday food environments to enable healthy choices in schools, early childhood settings, hospitals and public institutions.
  4. Implement a mandatory system of kilojoule labeling on menus in chain fast food outlets, with a supported comprehensive education campaign.
  5. Amend planning laws to ensure consistency with public health goals.

Details of the OPC’s Victorian election priorities are available on the OPC website: http://www.opc.org.au/downloads/positionpapers/next-steps-2014-election-priorities.pdf

About the Obesity Policy Coalition

The Obesity Policy Coalition is a group of leading public health agencies who are concerned about the escalating levels of overweight and obesity, particularly in children.

The Obesity Policy Coalition partners include Diabetes Australia – Vic, Cancer Council Victoria and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University.

(i) Department of Health Victoria 2012 LGA profiles data