The NSW Government’s campaign to combat childhood obesity has been honoured at the AMA National Conference 2017 in Melbourne.
AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, announced NSW Health as the winner of the inaugural Best Public Health Initiative from a State or Territory Government award.
Nominated by AMA NSW, the NSW Health campaign is a comprehensive whole-of-government plan with the target of reducing overweight and obesity rates of children by 5 per cent over 10 years.
“Obesity is on its way to overtaking tobacco as Australia’s number one health concern, and childhood obesity is a serious concern for the AMA,” Dr Gannon said.
“In November 2016, the AMA released its Position Statement on Obesity, which argues for a whole-of-society approach to overweight and obesity.
“The AMA commends the NSW Government for its comprehensive Delivery Plan for combating childhood obesity.
“It’s encouraging that the NSW Government’s evidence-based programs have contributed to stabilising rates of child overweight and obesity in that State to 22 per cent in 2015. But more work is needed to reach the NSW Premier’s target of 16.5 per cent by 2026.”
The judging panel, headed by Public Health Association of Australia CEO Michael Moore, noted that the campaign stood out for its clear strategic directions that specifically target particular settings and groups, and its strong focus on children and young people.
“The Healthy Schools Canteen Initiative will assist understanding of healthier eating habits in young people that will have some influence on the home front,” they said.
“However, there is more to be done. Breaking the nexus between junk food and sport will require regulation and a willingness to replace sponsorship with alternatives.”
The panel noted that a number of states and territories were also doing good work in the areas of alcohol-related harm, tobacco use, injury prevention, and road trauma.