Catch Them Young to Combat the Obesity Epidemic, Says New Australian Government

by Medindia Content Team on  December 14, 2007 at 11:04 AM Obesity News   - G J E 4
Catch Them Young to Combat the Obesity Epidemic, Says New Australian Government
As the obesity epidemic engulfs Australia fast, authorities are also chalking out ambitious projects to combat it.

The new Labour government there is proposing to weigh children as young as four years.

All children entering kindergarten are to be weighed and have their body mass index checked by doctors or health clinics. The plan will be rolled out from next year to catch all four-year-olds but the health tests will not be mandatory.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon declared Thursday obesity would be elevated to the same status as chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.

In a reversal from her predecessor Tony Abbott, Ms Roxon said the condition had become a national responsibility and needed government intervention.

"One in four Australian children and one in two adults are already overweight or obese and we need to prevent this trend from becoming worse," she said.

"The consequences go beyond personal consequences, serious as these are. They extend to national concerns about the future effect on both the economy and productivity."

The Healthy Kids Check - which was a pre-election announcement - will cover about 225,000 children every year.

The tests will be linked to the immunisation program and will also check hearing, sight and height.

If a child is identified as being overweight or bordering obese, parents will be given support and referred for further medical help.

"The Healthy Kids Check will help ensure all our four-year-olds are healthy, fit and ready to learn when they start primary school," Ms Roxon said.

"We have made several commitments to restructure our approach to prevention that we believe will have a significant impact on our fight against obesity, and that will help shape our national approach to health over the coming decades."

The anti-obesity move coincides with the announcement that for the first time state governments will provide policies each year to tackle obesity, alcohol and tobacco consumption, which are identified as major health concerns for Australia.

It is estimated that obesity and associated health problems cost Australia $21 billion a year.

But experts believe it will be another 30 years before the epidemic can be reversed.

The plan was welcomed by some nutritionists and health experts at a childhood obesity summit in Sydney.

There are also calls to extend the weight testing to include a follow-up check for 10-year-olds.

Susie Burrell, an obesity dietitian at Children's Hospital, Westmead, agreed with the plan to test children.

"I think 80 per cent of obese adolescents go on to become obese adults," she said.

But Professor Phillipa Hay, from the school of medicine at University of Western Sydney, said there was no need to test children.

"I don't think measuring children's weight necessarily achieves anything," she said and warned that it could in fact lead to eating disorders.

Source: Medindia

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Free Fruits on Public Áreas to Curb Spreading Obesity Fruits have around four times more water content than cookies and easily satisfy hunger taking less energy. Refrigerators full of fruits easily beat junkies. In Brazil we are increasing fruit trees in the public areas changing the country to a large tropical orchard. Then, sidewalks, squares, parks, roadsides will be plenty of free fruits bearing appropriate food to fight spreading obesity. Free fruits are protected from the power of the economic system pursuing profitability. Other countries are invited to join us on a fight against global obesity toward a Public Fructification. Brazil intends to become a developed country without common problems of a superpower. We intend the rural area to conquer public areas making it full of fruits. Even carnivores can be convinced to eat more fruits why not humans?
guest Friday, December 14, 2007

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