Prospective parents are a prime target for controlling the obesity epidemic, the Obesity Summit in Canberra has revealed.
The summit has been convened by Obesity Australia, a not-for-profit health promotion organisation.
Chair of Obesity Australia, Professor John Funder, who will open the two-day conference, said prospective parents was one of two key targets for controlling the obesity epidemic.
“Providing the best evidence for prospective parents over the four years before their child’s third birthday would minimise the chances of subsequent obesity,” he said.
Chair of Obesity Australia, Professor John Funder, who will open the two-day conference, said providing the best evidence for prospective parents over the four years before their child’s third birthday would minimise the chances of subsequent obesity.
“Our other focus is to change public perceptions of established obesity to allow government to address the epidemic by part-payment for accredited weight-loss programs and medicine/surgery, as currently done by the private health insurance sector,” he said.
“While obesity is regarded as primarily a personal failing, government action is limited to largely ineffective exhortation.”
The mission of Obesity Australia is to drive change in the public perceptions of obesity, its prevalence and its treatment. The prime objective in public health campaigns is changing attitudes and behaviours.
“It can be done, as evidenced by Prof David Penington’s work in dealing with HIV where public reaction was initially over-ridden by prejudice against gay men.”
Prof Funder told the conference:
- Over the last three decades in Australia the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased more than three-fold. Today a quarter of our population is obese, and another 40% overweight.
- Obesity is a serious, chronic, relapsing disease, with a constellation of associated disorders - diabetes, cardiovascular and renal disease, sleep apnoea and narcolepsy, depression, reproductive difficulties, etc.
- There is excellent evidence that obesity is both a personal and societal issue. At the personal level, the influence of genetic and epigenetic (no change in the DNA sequence, but differences in the stop/go signals on the DNA) make overweight the ‘normal’ situation for an increasing proportion of the population in our land of plenty.
- At a societal level, the impact of obesity and associated disorders on health care services (and costs) will be unprecedentedly high, and that in terms of productivity losses similar.
It is the first conference of its kind to address obesity.
Bupa and Coles are principal partners in staging the summit.
Obesity Australia is a not-for-profit health promotion organisation. Obesity Australia Members comprise the Board: John Funder (Executive Chairman), Christine Faulks, Christine Bennett, Geoff Walsh, Helen Coonan and Peter Gluckman, as well as Patrons Paul Zimmet and Harold Mitchell. Obesity Australia also has a Scientific Advisory Board comprising Jennie Brand-Miller, Joe Proietto, Matt Sabin, Steve Simpson, Stephen Colagiuri, Gary Wittert, Michael Cowley, John Dixon, John Funder and Peter Gluckman. The CEO for Obesity Australia is Stella Clark. The mission of Obesity Australia is to drive change in the public perception of obesity, its prevention and its treatment. As part of that mission, Obesity Australia is hosting the summit in Canberra.
Comment: Obesity Australia chair, Prof John Funder 0419 891 451 or via Nicole Harris 0488 678 427
Media contact: Graeme Willingham, Graeme Willingham Public Relations Tel: 03 9660 5541 Mobile: 0414 499 887 Email: [email protected]
Graeme Willingham, Graeme Willingham Public Relations
P: 03 9660 5541
M: 0414 499 887