The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance’s (ACDPA) have called for the Albanese Government to focus on activities such as healthy eating and active exercise as part of the country’s National Preventative Health Strategy.
The ACDPA calls come on the release of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) Australia’s Health 2022 report, which highlights the high numbers of overweight and/or obese people within the general population.
According to the report, “two out of every three Australians are overweight or obese, and one in four children are overweight or obese,”
The report also states that “nearly one in two Australians are living with a chronic disease and one in five Australians are living with multiple conditions.”
ACDPA’s Chair, Chris Forbes, suggested the rate of obesity and overweight people within the general population meant Australians face a higher risk of chronic illness.
“The new report shows that many of us are overweight or obese, which puts us at risk of developing one or more chronic conditions,” Mr Forbes said.
“A huge amount of chronic disease burden – nearly 40% – could be prevented by reducing risk factors like unhealthy diets, smoking, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and high blood pressure.”
As a result, Mr Forbes said the ACDPA was keen for further investment in the Federal Government’s National Preventative Health Strategy.
“It needs funding to achieve real gains,” Mr Forbes said.
Mr Forbes also said Australia was behind other OECD member nations in addressing the rate of obesity and overweight within the population.
“The pandemic has had an enormous impact on the health of Australians. Supporting Australians to reduce their risk of chronic disease would keep more of us healthy and out of hospitals at a time of great strain on our healthcare system. It really is a win-win.”
The ACDPA is a coalition of organisations focused on chronic disease across Australia, with the Heart Foundation, Cancer Council Australia, Kidney Health Australia, Diabetes Australia and Stroke Foundation forming its membership.
The AIHW Report, Australia’s Health 2022, can be read here.