However we’ve to cease seeing weight problems as an issue with no resolution. We all know what must be finished. We’ve a robust consensus from round 40 public well being, neighborhood and educational teams who recognized eight coverage priorities in Tipping the Scales. Uninterested in ready for governments to behave, we joined collectively to supply a coverage blueprint to stem the tide of weight problems – a ‘the way to information’ if you’ll.
The publication of the Senate Inquiry’s report into the weight problems epidemic in Australia final week has me feeling optimistic. The inquiry has obtained over 140 submissions – a testomony to the extent of momentum for change behind this challenge. Representatives throughout all political events have come collectively to analyze the systemic causes of weight problems and map out a plan of motion.
I’m notably optimistic as a result of I really feel like these on the inquiry’s committee have listened; most of the report’s suggestions mirror these set out in Tipping the Scales, amongst them, the introduction of a levy on sugary drinks.
Sugary drinks are the most important contributor of added sugar in Australians’ diets. The proof is evident – a 20 per cent well being levy on sugary drinks might save greater than 1600 Australian lives and lift greater than $400 million per 12 months for much-needed weight problems prevention initiatives.
Whereas different international locations have taken up the gauntlet, Australia continues to flounder in indecision. The UK is only one of 45 jurisdictions world wide to have launched a levy, which has raised almost £154m (about AUD$266m) and already seen large manufacturers reducing the sugar content material of their drinks. It’s time the federal government stops fearing the spectre of the food and drinks foyer and places the well being of its residents above political capital.
Whereas the controversy over a sugar tax will little doubt be the main focus for media and public debate, it’s simply considered one of many levers that should be pulled if we’re going to avoid wasting the subsequent era from a lifetime of persistent illness.
If we’re going to halt weight problems in its tracks, we’ve to begin with youngsters – together with adolescents, one thing the inquiry’s report acknowledges. It’s time to cease pretending it is a downside that may and ought to be solved by dad and mom alone.
We all know, and the food and drinks trade is aware of, advertising to youngsters works. Dad and mom are dealing with an uphill battle towards the trade’s pervasive and duplicitous ways to construct model consciousness and encourage pester energy amongst youngsters.
We have to cease letting these firms make their very own guidelines round advertising to youngsters – the equal of setting and marking their very own homework, with the inevitable excellent rating.
The food and drinks trade is utilizing the identical well-worn playbook because the tobacco trade to undermine insurance policies to deal with Australia’s weight problems epidemic, claiming it’s an issue with no resolution.
However this week’s report demonstrates a turning level. It’s an essential acknowledgement that this isn’t solely an issue value tackling, it’s one that may be addressed with the suitable management from all aspects of presidency.
With the essential dedication from the COAG Well being Ministers to develop a nationwide technique on weight problems, this can get us a way. We now must see this dedication result in motion. It can should be finished independently, with out the involvement of the processed meals trade, those that stand probably the most to lose if efficient motion is taken. If this trade sector has a seat on the desk they are going to solely search to muddy the waters and halt significant reform.
We’ve a roadmap to deal with weight problems; this isn’t new as many comparable stories exist. The distinction we have to see, for the sake of all Australians and notably our kids, is authorities motion to create supportive environments that make the wholesome selection the straightforward selection.
Jane Martin is the Weight problems Coverage Coalition’s government supervisor.