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Obesity in Australia: A Need for Urgent Action

Added on - 31 May 2021

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Running Head:POLICY ANALYSIS OF CHAPTER 2 (OBESITY IN AUSTRALIA: A NEEDFOR URGENT ACTION) OF THE NATIONAL PREVENTATIVE HEALTH STRATEGY–THE ROADMAP FOR ACTIONPolicy Analysis of Chapter 2 (Obesity in Australia: A Need for Urgent Action) of the NationalPreventative Health Strategy–The Roadmap for ActionStudent’s NameInstitutional AffiliationInstructor
POLICY ANALYSIS OF CHAPTER 2 (OBESITY IN AUSTRALIA: A NEED FOR URGENTACTION) OF THE NATIONAL PREVENTATIVE HEALTH STRATEGY–THE ROADMAPFOR ACTION21.IntroductionObesity & its Significance in AustraliaAustralia has registered a high number of obese cases in the recent past according to theOECD data. The rise in both obesity and overweight cases cuts across all ages from children toadults. From a clinical perspective, obesity contributes to hypertension, diabetes type 2especially among pregnant women. It predisposes children to early age diabetes and likely toimpact on their quality of life as well. Considering these effects, it is undoubtedly factual thatobesity contributes to high costs of medication among Australians both in the urban and ruralareas. The Obesity Policy Coalition indicates that the period from 2014 to 2015, had 70.8%Australian males and 56.3% of the female population classified as either overweight or obese.Comparing these figures with the 1995 statistics where 64.9% of the male population and 49.4%of the Australian females above the age of 18years, shows that the rise in obesity and its relatedrisks needs serious attention. Looking at the OECD country performance in terms of obesity rateamong adults, Australia is ranked 5thhighest (OECD, 2017). The 2014-2015 period also sawabout27.2% of children aged 5-17 years old classified as being obese (Harris, Fetherston, &Calder, 2017). Out of this faction, 7.4% fell in the category of “living with obesity” and a lack ofinterventions will push these cases to a higher level according to Martin (2018).Morespecifically, above 6 million Australians including children and adults will fall in the range ofbeing overweight and/or obese by 2020 if there is no intervention according to the NationalPreventative Health Taskforce report in 2009. Another of similar forecast is that 2025 is likely tosee a whole 73% of Australia’s population either overweight or obese (Obesity Policy Coalition,2018). As such one third of the country’s children population and three quarters of the adults willbe rated as obese. Diabetes type 2 treatment costs resulting from the obesity will increase from
POLICY ANALYSIS OF CHAPTER 2 (OBESITY IN AUSTRALIA: A NEED FOR URGENTACTION) OF THE NATIONAL PREVENTATIVE HEALTH STRATEGY–THE ROADMAPFOR ACTION3the $1.3billion currently to over $8.0 billion in 2032 according to Harris et al (2017). Based onthe statistics and forecasts, there is need for strictly policy that will help ameliorate obesity andits related chronic diseases in Australia into the future.Reason for Choosing Chapter 2 (Obesity in Australia: A Need for Urgent Action) of theNational Preventative Health Strategy for AnalysisUnlike other countries in the OECD, obesity and its related chronic conditions are a graveconcern of every health agency and more so the WHO and healthcare policy advocacy factions.This policy has been chosen for analysis because of the grave concerns posed by the increasingrise in obesity and by extension its effect on the costs of medication. The policy as structure bythe National Health Preventative Taskforce should helped the country to reverse the trend ofobesity in its population but apparently 8 years down the line, there has been no significantchange. The Obesity Policy Coalition as an advocacy group also notes with concern that whilethe roadmap on preventing obesity, alcohol, and smoking was even responded to and accepted bythe government, there has been no goodwill over time to see its implementation. It is thusimportant to analyse this policy to understand what needs to be changed or put in place so thatthere is a serious political, economic and social investment in preventing obesity and relatedchronic conditions in Australia going forward.Chapter 2 (Obesity in Australia: A Need for Urgent Action) SummaryChapter 2 of the report by the National Preventative Health Taskforce as a policybasically outlines the strategies that needed to be followed by Australian government and itshealth components to ameliorate the high cases of obesity in the country. According to theObesity Policy Coalition (2018), the chapter also highlights the relationship between obesity andchronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes type 2, which increases the cost of
POLICY ANALYSIS OF CHAPTER 2 (OBESITY IN AUSTRALIA: A NEED FOR URGENTACTION) OF THE NATIONAL PREVENTATIVE HEALTH STRATEGY–THE ROADMAPFOR ACTION4medication for an individual patient. The chapter indicates that there is a dire need for Australiato ensure that the proportion of its population considered as having a healthy body should beincreased by a margin of three per cent in the 10 years that followed after the policy wasproposed in 2009. The chapter also indicates how the taskforce recommended a need for thehealthcare agencies in conjunction with the government to provide a healthy start to lifeparticularly for every Australian child born. Proper parenting as well as communities that aresupportive in committing its members to healthy lifestyles also needed to be cultivated by theAustralian government and its constituent agencies across the country.The chapter details the actions that needed to be taken up by the government and itsconstituent health institutions on obesity prevention. The first action area that is detailed is therequirement that the government needs to put in place a culture of community-based physicalexercising so as to sedentary lifestyle cases in Australia. Secondly, there was need for thegovernment to spearhead a turn-around in the food industry be ensuring that only food productsthat are naturally healthy are sold within the economy. Another action areas highlighted includethe need for a reduction in the number of children being exposed to adverts that promote theconsumption of food products that are highly sweetened (Sacks, Martin, & Veerman, 2016). Onmaternal as well as child healthcare, the policy recommends to the government that there wasneed for the development of mechanisms that could help in preventing maternal and childobesity as well as diabetes and hypertension.According to the policy chapter, Australia needed to have a functional support systemthat would see the low-income earners within the population improving their physical activitywhile enhancing healthy eating behaviours. As for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, thechapter recommended a need for minimize the levels of vulnerability to obesity which is even
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