Northern Territory Minister for Health Natasha Fyles
Northern Territory First to Begin National Obesity Strategy Consultation
Victor P Taffa
Territorians are the first in the country to help shape a national obesity strategy.
A consultation paper has been developed to seek the views of Territorians on a condition that affects more than 14 Million Australians. In the Territory 30% of adults and 8% of children are obese.
“We know that one of the contributors to better social outcomes is a healthy diet and lifestyle.” Minister for Health Natasha Fyles said.
“Being overweight is a complex area influenced by poverty, lack of education and other health-related issues, and we know a comprehensive strategy is needed to address it.”
“This consultation process provides an opportunity to guide government on how we can work with others to create environments that support a healthy weight, and empower individuals and communities.”
Ideas gathered from the consultation paper will assist the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council to refine ideas already gathered and presented in the consultation paper.
Community forums and discussions kicked off with face-to-face consultations in the Territory this week. The strategy will result in a 10-year plan to reduce obesity in our communities, through sustained preventive action.
Northern Territory is starting to see some success in tackling obesity. At last week’s Health COAG, Health Minister Natasha Fyles shared the results of the Healthy Stores 2020 research project with her interstate counterparts.
12-week study involved 14 remote stories in the Northern Territory and 6 in Queensland. Strategies included not promoting unhealthy food and drinks in store, removing unhealthy foods from point of sale and high traffic areas and, increasing awareness of which foods and drinks are unhealthy.
Collaborative study between the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA) and Monash University found there was an overall 6% reduction in the purchase of targeted unhealthy food and drinks while there was an overall 13% increase in healthy food and drinks.
No reduction in the stores’ gross profit was recorded during the study. Consultation closes on 15 December.