Concerns have been raised about the alarming rate of increase in childhood obesity among school children in Victoria. According to official estimates, about 6% of Australian children are obese and 17% are overweight.
VicHealth, one of the important health promotion bodies of the State has highlighted the need for appropriate measures to curb childhood obesity. Additionally, it has pointed out to the need for local surveys to analyze the weight, diet habits and exercise regimes among these children.
A stringent monitoring of child health is very crucial in fight against the obesity epidemic, said Rob Moodie, Chief Executive, VicHealth. 'If you don't measure something you don't know how to manage it, and that's how this whole epidemic sneaked up on us in the first place,' he said in a statement.
In response to the above situation, a plan to weigh school children less than 5 years of age for every three years has been announced by the ACT Government. The survey titled 'Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey' would be targeted at organizing campaigns to encourage children to be more active.
The study that will be conducted on over 1200 primary school students would gather data about diet pattern, activity levels and other similar factors that contribute to expansion of children's waistlines. The selection of the study participants would be done at the kindergarten level, and the assessment would be carried out in grades 3 and 6.
'The Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey will be conducted across the ACT, in public and non-government schools sectors. It will involve the collection of height and weight information on those kids, and involve a questionnaire that will try to get information on their level of physical activity, nutrition and a range of other factors to do with health and wellbeing,' said a health official associated with the survey.