The team comprises medical experts from Townsville's James Cook University (JCU). Their task would beto explore the reasons behind the region's growing waistline. The parameters studied would be everything from its steamy temperatures to its vast and sprawling distances.
"Most obesity research has been conducted in metropolitan districts and in relatively temperate climates in Europe and the United States," said Professor Lee Kennedy from JCU. He further added,"But I think we have to understand how chronic diseases should be managed and how they're caused in a tropical environment with the sort of unique population we have here."
"We know that a big part of the population up here is quite healthy because of the work in agriculture, and there's a lot of people from overseas who have been screened for conditions, like diabetes, and don't have them," Prof Kennedy said.
"And we know there is quite a young population overall, so it is quite surprising that the prevalence of diseases like diabetes is just as bad as the rest of Australia, and that presentations with coronary problems are actually more common here than most of Australia."
"It's much harder in hotter climates for people to exercise. I think it's also probably harder for people to spend time shopping and preparing food, and convenience food, like everywhere, is plentiful and relatively inexpensive up here," he said. "In the really remote north, fresh fruit and vegetables are actually relatively expensive."Then there's also the issue of distances, with a lot of people spending a lot of time in cars and a lot of people employed as long distance drivers."