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The increasing cost of the health sector and risk factors related to obesity has been well documented in past few years. From this perspective, it is crucial that the propensity of individual towards obesity is analyzed. According to the statistical report, obesity affects the majority of the women compared to men living in Australia (Backholer, et al., 2017). This essay will argue that there are certain contributing social and biological factors that facilitate the prevalence of obesity in Australia. Therefore, this paper will illustrate the challenges and issues, contributing factors that enhance the issue, counter measures for reducing the prevalence of obesity in Australia.
According to the statistical evidence furnished by the Australian bureau of statistics, out of four adults in Australia, one adult was obese in 2009. Over the last two decades, there was a steady shift in the Australian population towards the higher end of body index that is driven by mainly weight gain rather than the changes in the height (Backholer, et al., 2017). A report by the world health organization suggested that majority of the women in Australia was experiencing obesity which was estimated to be 2.5 million (Kim et al., 2017). Consequently, the economic burden increased over the decade (Garnett et al., 2016). In 2014 to 2015, the Australians living in the remote areas such as suburban areas where individuals lack proper knowledge to maintain the healthy life style were more likely to be obese compared to the individuals who lived in metropolitan counterparts (Garnett et al., 2016). The lowest prevalence was observed in the New South Wales and Victoria.
Obesity is a complex health condition, which is influenced by biological, social, cultural and economic factors. The contributing factors can be explained by two crucial models such as the biomedical model and socio-economical model (Nichols et al., 2016). According to biomedical model, there are certain biological factors that directly influence the prevalence of obesity (Wade & Halligan, 2017). Genetics acts as a contributing factor for obesity. A considerate number of people have other medical issues and are administrated with certain medicines containing steroids that give rise to obesity. On the other hand, the socio-economical model is a theory-based framework, which determines the social and economic factors that contribute to the occurrence of obesity. According to this model, social factors such as lifestyle, work, stress and hypertension due to work stress can give rise to obesity (Barker et al., 2015). Poor dietary habits and intake of sugary diet and high-calorie diet gives rise to obesity in individuals (Barker et al., 2015).
Poor diet and high body mass index are major risk factors contributing to the significant obesity prevalence in Australia (Barker et al., 2015). The important initiatives involve a commitment of New South Wales government to reduce obesity in children by monitoring rates of obesity and including healthy canteen strategy. Moreover, towards zero growth –healthy weight action plan 2013 was designed for setting priorities and goals to improve the obesity status (Roberts et al., 2018). The prime policy that has been designed for reducing obesity is healthy eating and active living strategy. The other policy interventions that have been undertaken by the Australian government, include the adoption of whole government obesity prevention strategy and improving health (Whelan et al., 2015). The target funding for this interventions is $200 billion annually.
The report and statistics highlighted the different range of strategies as a part of Taking preventive actions for preventing the obesity and associated health issues (Whelan et al., 2015). The key activities and the agenda for reducing obesity include funding the national partnership agreement on preventive health, launching a new social media campaign encouraging people to adopt healthier lifestyles, reviewing current guidelines on obesity (Parkinson et al., 2017).
Review of food labeling law and policy (2011) is identified as the potential government level legislative interventions for improving nutritional labeling of products. For improving the overall health, Australian national preventive health agency act 2010 was legislated for standard guidelines of reducing obesity (Parkinson et al., 2017). For reducing the burden of obesity, the infrastructures can be changed such as advanced technology for monitoring the obesity and high body mass index, recruitment of skilled practitioner (Parkinson et al., 2017). For developing evidence-based adult care pathway collaborate practice of primary care general practitioner and a multidisciplinary team is taken into consideration. It is hoped that successful implementation of the primary care procedures can help in curing the issue (Parkinson et al., 2017).
Proposed interventions for reducing the consumption of energy based and high-calorie food should be encouraged. The implementation of junk food taxation can help in popularizing healthy food. There are other measures that can be recommended for reducing obesity in Australia (Crino et al., 2017).For the reduction of individual risk factors, the social media campaign and peer program can be arranged for educating the population about healthy nutritional intake and effectiveness of the exercises. Advertisement for junk food or unhealthy food should not be promoted, especially for the children (Parkinson et al., 2017). There is a wide gap between evidence and practice and therefore education should be provided to every practitioner and health professionals to come up with better interventions (Whelan et al., 2015).
Thus, it can be concluded that although obesity has been traditionally conceptualized as the physical problem that increases awareness and involves the role of government with collaboration of the corporations and educators observed in recent reports. Healthy eating and active living strategy, improvement of health programs and an increase in skilled practitioners is required for better services. For reducing individual risks factors, intake of a balanced nutritious diet and a healthy life-style can help in attaining positive outcome.
Backholer, K., Hirakawa, Y., Tonkin, A., Giles, G., Magliano, D. J., Colagiuri, S., ... & Simmons, D. (2017). Development of an Australian cardiovascular disease mortality risk score using multiple imputation and recalibration from national statistics. BMC cardiovascular disorders, 17(1), 17.
Barker, V., Gumley, A., Schwannauer, M., & Lawrie, S. M. (2015). An integrated biopsychosocial model of childhood maltreatment and psychosis. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 206(3), 177-180.
Crino, M., Herrera, A. M. M., Ananthapavan, J., Wu, J. H., Neal, B., Lee, Y. Y., ... & Sacks, G. (2017). Modelled cost-effectiveness of a package size cap and a kilojoule reduction intervention to reduce energy intake from sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia. Nutrients, 9(9), 983.
Garnett, S. P., Baur, L. A., Jones, A. M., & Hardy, L. L. (2016). Trends in the prevalence of morbid and severe obesity in Australian children aged 7-15 years, 1985-2012. PloS one, 11(5), e0154879.
Kim, S., Lewis, J. R., Baur, L. A., Macaskill, P., & Craig, J. C. (2017). Obesity and hypertension in Australian young people: Results from the Australian Health Survey 2011–2012. Internal medicine journal, 47(2), 162-169.
Nichols, M., Peterson, K., Herbert, J., Alston, L., & Allender, S. (2016). Australian heart disease statistics 2015. Melbourne: National Heart Foundation of Australia.
Parkinson, J., Dubelaar, C., Carins, J., Holden, S., Newton, F., & Pescud, M. (2017). Approaching the wicked problem of obesity: an introduction to the food system compass. Journal of Social Marketing, 7(4), 387-404.
Roberts, N., Li, V., Atkinson, J. A., Heffernan, M., McDonnell, G., Prodan, A., ... & Lung, T. (2018). Can the Target Set for Reducing Childhood Overweight and Obesity Be Met? A System Dynamics Modelling Study in New South Wales, Australia. Systems Research and Behavioral Science.
Wade, D. T., & Halligan, P. W. (2017). The biopsychosocial model of illness: a model whose time has come.
Whelan, J., Love, P., Romanus, A., Pettman, T., Bolton, K., Smith, E., ... & Allender, S. (2015). A map of community?based obesity prevention initiatives in Australia following obesity funding 2009–2013. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 39(2), 168-171.
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