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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (6 August) . .

Page.. 2127..

Motion, as amended, agreed to.


DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (4.42):

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the public health challenges brought about by the rising level of overweight and obesity across the Australian population;

(b) rates of obesity and overweight people have increased dramatically in the ACT community over the past 20 years;

(c) the ACT Government has set an ambitious target of "zero growth" for obesity in the ACT; and

(d) behavioural change needs to occur across the spectrum of peoples' daily lives to successfully manage the growing rate of overweight and obesity in the community; and

(2) calls on the Government to:

(a) continue implementing policies and programs across government to help the ACT community to recognise the health and lifestyle impacts associated with being overweight;

(b) work with the community to implement a wide range of programs that assist all at-risk members of the community to manage their weight through diet and activity; and

(c) assist members of the community who are at increased risk of disease as a result of being overweight through a public obesity management service and access to publicly funded weight-loss surgery.

I bring this motion to the Assembly today because it is widely recognised that obesity is one of Australia's biggest public health challenges. While rates in the ACT are slightly below the national average, they are still of grave concern with almost two-thirds of ACT adults being overweight, including one in four being obese.

This is a dramatic increase compared to 20 years ago when below a quarter of ACT adults were overweight. Worryingly, this increase has also occurred in young children. The high rates of obesity and overweight, as well as poor diet choices and low levels of physical activity, all significantly contribute to the growing chronic disease burden. The more body fat a person carries, the higher the health risk. People who are obese are two to three times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke as well as being seven times more likely to suffer from diabetes than people in the healthy weight range.

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