Western Australia Minister for Sport and Recreation Terry Waldron
Action Required For Healthy Weight
Victor P Taffa
The Western Australia State Government today announced the amount of children above a healthy weight remained unchanged from 2003, with about one in four children overweight or obese.
Sport and Recreation Minister and chair of the Physical Activity Taskforce Terry Waldron said while there had been no increase in the predicted escalation of childhood obesity, the level at which it appeared to have stabilised was unacceptably high.
“With almost a Quarter of our children overweight or obese, we should be as alarmed now as we were five years ago when the 2003 Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (CAPANS) was released.” Mr. Waldron said.
“Since then there have been multiple across-government and community approaches to help halt the escalation and we need to keep focused to turn this level around.”
The final report of the 2008 CAPANS released by the Minister today at Morley Senior High School outlines the physical activity levels, dietary habits and body size results of 1,827 students from schools across the State.
CAPANS was commissioned by the Physical Activity Taskforce and follows on from similar research undertaken in 2003.
The 2008 CAPANS showed a drop in the amount of secondary school girls considered overweight or obese 23 % to 16 % but Mr. Waldron said a worrying finding had been the increase in the amount of girls classified as underweight.
“CAPANS has shown approximately 10 % of girls is classified as under a healthy weight.” the Minister said.
“There has been an increase from 4.2 % to 9.9 % in primary school girls and an increase from 5.5 % to 9.4 % in secondary school girls.
“This is of great concern and the taskforce will be recommending further research and analysis to understand the reasons behind the results.” Mr. Waldron said.
The Minister said a continued focus across government and the community to improve the behaviours of children and adolescents would be required to encourage healthy, active lifestyles and healthy weight.
“Regular physical activity and a nutritious diet provide benefits to the development of physical, mental and social health in children and adolescents.” Mr. Waldron said.
The Physical Activity Taskforce was established in 2001 to oversee the development and delivery of a whole-of-government and whole-of-community approach to increasing physical activity levels in WA. It comprises Government, non-government, academic and local government agencies.
CAPANS was commissioned by the Physical Activity Taskforce in 2008 and data was collected from Edith Cowan University from 1,827 students in years three, five and seven and secondary school years eight, 10 and 11.