Obesity reality check
28 October 2008
What is the true extent of the obesity problem in Australia? Has the Federal Government got its real measure taped? Or are we helpless against the rising tide of fat?
Sydney University's Institute of Obesity, Nutrition & Exercise (IONE) will today draw together some of Australia's leading obesity experts to review and measure the effectiveness of our response as a nation to the obesity epidemic.
The Institute is playing a leading role in the battle to control the obesity epidemic and lifestyle-related chronic diseases by providing a focus for advancing basic and clinical research, public health and policy development.
Executive Director of the Institute of Obesity, Nutrition & Exercise, Professor Ian Caterson said "We're dealing with one of the most serious health issues of our time. We know that the prevalence of obesity is increasing, particularly in children and adolescents. With this increased prevalence comes increased metabolic disease and an enormous burden on our health systems."
Today's forum Obesity: The Reality Check will seek to sort the facts from the hype and examine controversies surrounding measuring obesity and the key drivers of obesity as well as addressing crucial questions such as:
•Does tackling obesity lead to worsening eating disorders?
•Is obesity associated with significant reduction in life expectancy?
•Is it a greater health risk to be overweight or inactive?
•Is weight cycling more dangerous than being obese?
Prof Caterson said, "There have been a number of recent studies and I think an unhelpful debate about obesity and just how big Australia is and where we rank in the world and then there's been controversy around the measures that have been put in place to deal with the problem."
"This meeting will see a group of leading Australian researchers brought together to provide leadership in this debate," he said.
Institute Director Prof Stephen Colagiuri said experts had to 'step back' and examine some of these issues to find an effective way forward so that the burgeoning cost of obesity could be reigned in.
"What we're seeking to do is to examine what we know, what actually works and highlight the areas we need to promote," he said.
"IONE believes it's critically important bring all stakeholders to the party including industry which has a vital role to play".
The meeting comes just a week after the launch of the Federal Government's national Measure Up campaign to tackle obesity, which itself has created controversy with some commentators suggesting the TV commercials are judgemental.
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