Australia Faces Health Crisis
According to a report released in March, Australia is failing to address the country’s growing obesity crisis, a trend disproportionately facing immigrant groups. The Collective for Action on Obesity released the new information that found 900,000 Australians became obese in the last three years.
The groups most impacted by this trend are migrant and Indigenous populations. The report alleges that prevention methods have not reached these communities effectively.
“Programs have to be culturally adapted to a community. You can’t just run a mainstream program and put it in any community,” Nicole Turner of the Collective for Action on Obesity told SBS News.
Approximately one-third of Australians adults are considered obese and a quarter of children are obese or overweight.
With the trend, the group said that “Australia has gone backward at an alarming rate.”
The Collective for Action on Obesity is a group of over 100 research, corporate and political advocacy groups. According to the collective, Australia’s health problems are greater than individuals suffering from poor decision-making, but rather the amount of readily available unhealthy food has torpedoed Australian’s health.
Many in the group and other concerned citizens are worried that Australia is heading down a path similar to America. Australia and America now have roughly the same level of obesity.
Obesity results in an estimated AUD $11.8 billion drain on the country’s economy due to indirect and direct health costs. Obese children are much more likely to suffer from obesity as adults and suffer from a whole host of health problems as a result.
Jannik Lindner at FITFORBEACH said, “we are finding that many Australians are interested in becoming more healthy, but they lack the necessary education and money to make better choices. Providing more information is a great first step, and Australians should be made much more aware of different services available to them that will enable them to live a much healthier lifestyle.”
The country’s opposition party has already tried to pivot to a position in favor of strengthening Medicare and healthcare spending in the country. After the country announced its budget for the next year, the Labor Party made a concerted effort to appeal for more healthcare spending in order to attract voters to their party.
Likely, the government will respond with similar measures if the position is found to be extremely popular with voters.
However, there has so far been no consensus on how the country should respond to the deepening crisis. There is a myriad of opinions on how to solve obesity, but the researchers accused the government of taking an inadequate approach.
In Tasmania, an astonishing 70 percent of residents are either overweight or obese. This area has particularly high migrant and Indigenous populations, and the state’s policy might also be to blame for the growth in obesity in the region.
The collective is also calling for more unity in policy between different Australian states. Currently, different states are employing different measure, and the group argues a more comprehensive and national approach is more likely to fix the problem.
The group has called out the problem, but whether the government will act quickly and wisely is another story.