Childhood Obesity in Australia

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Childhood Obesity 1

Childhood Obesity in Australia

(University Affiliation)


obesity refers the accumulating of excess fat and most of which is as a result of the difference in the intake and the consumption of calorie. Obesity pandemeic in children is now a global issue worth the attention of the key stakeholders. In Australia alone, it is reported that one in every four children are either obese or overweight (Williams et al, 2012). For the Australians aged between four and seven, obesity is a worrying condition because of the difficulty in liberation from the condition once it has been gained. Child obesity has been a health issue all through of Australia’s history with the causes being traced to genetics as well as the difference between calorie utilization and expenditure (Jane Scott, 2015). Between 1987 and 1995, the number of childhood obesity cases increased a lot and for boys, the figures rose from 10.7% to 20.5% and girls from 11.8% to 21.1% and for the adults, the figures changed from 7 to15 percent and 5 percent to 17 between the two years. In the preceding ten years, until 2008, figures kept on ascending from 21 percent to 25 percent leading to a similar figure of obesity for both boys and girls (Moodie, 2013).
In the years 2012 and 2013 the Australian health survey, indicated that despite the alarming statistics, Australia still lacked a plan to take a preventive action aimed to reverse the situation. Obesity amongst the Australian children is a global pandemic that, in the year 2009, affected over 150 million children, specifically one for every child between the ages of 5 and17 years (Jane Scott, 2015). according th study by the International Study on Obesity, statistics in 2013 stipulate that Greece recorded the most number obese and overweight children with the recorded figures for both genders being 44 pecent and 38 percent in that order (Moodie, 2013). 24 percent of of girls in Australia , as indicated by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), were viewed as being affected by obesity, becoming position 9 out of forty countries (Jane Scott, 2015).canada and spain according to research are said to record a similar figure of figure of 24%. Australia is positioned eighteenth, representing a figure of 22%, a similar figure to that of the UK. The lowest figures of child obesity were recorded in Indonesia indicating estimated figure of 11 and 8 percent in that order for both genders. In 2013 for instance, the WHO indicated that more than 40 million kids less than five years old were obese with over 30 million children coming from poorly developed countries (Jane Scott, 2015) 

There may be no globally agreed factors that cause an increase in the number of obese children in the world, but there are a number of fairly agreed upon points concerning the pandemic. First is the fact that the condition and more so in children has very serious health concerns
(Wolfenden et al., 2011). Obesity, according to studies causes a number of health related pandemics such as heart attack, hypertension, diabetes, hardening of the blood vessels, liver disease, mental health problems are just but a number of issues to do with having excess fat in the body. Research has shown that children are now being affected by diseases that were only affecting the adults. It is now common to find children with diabetes, which was initially associated with adults. The second reason for concern is that obesity has an economic issue
(Wolfenden et al., 2011). The estimated cost of treating obese children is not that significant, but statistics show that the economic impact of the pandemic is rising so fast. Statistics indicate that the cost of treating children with weight related issues rose from 35 million dollars to 127 million dollars from the period 1979 to 1981 and 1997 to 1999 respectively. These estimates therefore show that with the increase in the number of overweight and obese children, we could be witnessing more increased cost of treatment. Studies show that the cost of trusting a non- obese person is 35percent higher than that of treating an obese individual (Eva et al., 2015). The final point in this case is that there is a broad agreement that child obesity is viewed more as a social problem that reflects the interactive aspects of the environment, the biology and behavior rather than as a medical issue. Studies show that children from low income families are likely to be obese. Child obesity also affects the social viability of the affected children as far as their self esteem is concerned
(Wolfenden et al., 2011)

OPAL’s introduction in South Australia (where almost 20% of four year olds are overweight or obese), delivers objective to dealing with the weight issue. The Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle project, or OPAL, is a joint activity of elected, state and local governments and a key system of SA’s Eat Well Be Active Strategy
(Jones et al., 2011). Over twenty communities presently partake in. OPAL will reach around 25% of the South Australian populace making it the biggest community based, obesity counteractive action, in the history of Australia (Moodie, 2013).

The reasoning behind OPAL is that the needs of the community drive the system’s course locally. OPAL workers deployed into councils work with local families and community based groupings, for example, shops, neighborhood houses, schools, committee staff and welfare associations to make locally applicable techniques which bolster families to eat well and be more active in their day to day lives
(Moodie, et al. 2011). Methodologies range from giving information to policy, programs and changes to the environment. In addition to the local activities, more extensive healthy living campaigns have been utilized over the OPAL sites. So far campaigners have included, ‘Water, the first cool beverage’ which urges youngsters to drink water instead of soda, and ‘Make it a new snack’, an activity urging parents to pick crisp, fresh food for their children
(Jones et al., 2011).


In conclusion, obesity has been observed to be a growing pandemic that needs attention from the health practitioners. Statistics have shown that the number of children with obesity has risen over time and this is a worrying phenomenon (Eneli et al, 2013). The effects of obesity have been shown to range from health issues, most of which only affected the adults in the past to economic and social issues. The estimated cost of treating obese children is not that significant, but statistics show that the economic impact of the pandemic is rising so fast while the psychological effects of the condition in children causes self esteem issues (Eva et al., 2015). The introduction of OPAL in South Australia was aimed at reversing the trend since the region has the highest number of obese children. The initiative is meant to encourage healthy living amongst the people to ensure that no more cases of obesity are reported in Australia.


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Wolfenden, L., Hardy, L.L., Wiggers, J., Milat, A.J., Bell, C. and Sutherland, R. 2011, ‘Prevalence and socio-demographic associations of overweight and obesity among children attending child-care services in rural and regional Australia’, Nutrition & Dietetics, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 15–20. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0080.2010.01487.x.