Obesity is a serious societal health issue that costs the Australian economy a combined $ 79 billion annually of both direct and indirect health care costs. This cost is equivalent to half of Australia’s national budget. This paper focuses primarily on ways of promoting healthy eating habits by giving a summary of the module material learnt throughout the course duration. The summary will be in the following order; physical activity, food & nutrition, obesity and lastly proposed policy enactment to promote healthy eating habits.
About physical activity, the lecture highlights statistics released by the Southern Australia health report that indicate; as individuals grow older, they tend to become less involved with physical exercise. Over 72% of the Australian adult population aged above 15 years is classified as having low exercise levels. The report highlights the benefits of physical exercise, which include the prevention of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Exercising also helps to keep at bay chances of developing cancer, type II diabetes and promotes psychological well-being.
About food & nutrition, the lecture attributes poor nutrition as the root cause of obesity. This include frequent intake of energy dense foods and drinks that contain high sugar and fat. These foods are readily available in large quantities on shelves of shopping malls. Coupled with their advertising, consumers go for energy dense foods and drinks in place of vegetables, fruits and water. The lecture concludes this section by listing the various health complications attributed to poor nutrition. These are; bowel disorders, cardio-vascular disease, some cancers, type II diabetes mellitus, dental caries, gallbladder disease and obesity.
Concerning obesity, the lecture notes it to be the consequence of poor nutrition and lack of physical activity that it elicits much media, political and public attention. Precisely, obesity is caused by genetic susceptibility, lack of exercising, and excessive intake of dense energy foods. The statistics on obesity in Australia are quite alarming considering the fact obesity rates have tripled over the past two decades alone. Presently, 60% of Australian adults are obese, while up to 25% of children are following the same path. This rapid rise in obesity rates has led to increased direct and indirect health care costs for the Australian health care sector to the tune of $79 billion annually. Obesity has had a negative impact on the Australian population, however there exists areas that are amenable to change to help counter and minimize the heath issue.
The lecture highlights that to reverse the upward trend in growing cases of obesity, there needs to be policies and adequate funding to help in their implementation. The move by the Commonwealth Government to allocate $ 872.1 million to address the risk factors associated with obesity is cited as a good move. It is argued that health policy will deal with health issues that respond to change, minimize social and economic burden of preventable disease, increase healthy life expectancy and provide the government and relevant stakeholders with an agenda and strategic framework for action on public health. Already policies are in place at the national and state level that recommend the level of physical activity for infants, school-going children, adolescents, adults and the eldest. In addition, policies and guidelines to promote healthy eating at the national and state level are also in place. The lecture suggests that these policies and guidelines be promoted at an individual level through behavioral modification, and at national level using media campaigns, for instance, YouTube adverts are included, one promotes eating vegetables instead of junk, while the other calls for individual to take a 30-minute walk each day as exercise.