Fewer ACT children are regularly consuming sugary drinks, more children are eating the recommended two serves of fruit per day, and more children are walking or cycling to school according to the 2016-17 Progress Report for the Healthy Weight Initiative (HWI).
The report also reveals that there has been no increase in the rates of obesity in Canberra children since the initiative started in 2013.
The recently-released report provides an encouraging snapshot for healthy living in the ACT, with Canberrans being more active and following better eating habits.
“This report clearly illustrates the positive impact the Healthy Weight Initiative is having on keeping Canberrans healthy and well,” Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Meegan Fitzharris said.
“The HWI contains a wide range of initiatives across all ACT Government Directorates and we’ve seen these initiatives have broad success, including in planning, school contexts, regulatory measures, as well as programs to improve nutrition and encourage more physical activity, especially among school children.
“These achievements will assist the Government in drafting the Preventative Health Strategy – an election commitment we made last year to help us address challenges such as rising levels of obesity, lack of physical inactivity, as well as smoking and risky alcohol consumption.”
The recent 2017-18 ACT Budget committed another $4 million over the next four to address the key risk factors associated with poor health outcomes and chronic disease.
“The Healthy Weight Initiative is a whole of government approach with a focus on systemic improvements to the food and active living environments to make the healthier choice the easy choice,” the report states.
It has a long-term goal of zero growth in the rates of overweight and obesity across the ACT population.
“While 63 per cent of adults in the ACT are overweight or obese, only 20 per cent believe that overweight or obesity is a major or critical problem for themselves of their immediate family,” the HWI 206-17 Progress Report states.
“This shows there is more work to be done to raise awareness and support Canberrans to engage in healthier behaviours and experience the health benefits that result.”
The Healthy Weight Initiative 2016-17 Progress Report is available at: www.act.gov.au/healthyliving.
Are you concerned about the rates of being overweight or obese in Canberra? Is enough being done to address this issue? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.