Australians need to reset their understanding of what is a normal weight, with more than one-in-five school aged children in New South Wales now considered overweight or obese, health experts say.
New data indicates there is a disconnect within society about what is now considered a ‘normal’ weight, said Kerry Chant, chief health officer at NSW Health.
New tools to address the growing childhood obesity epidemic have been launched including a website showing a healthy weight calculator and a video of a nutritionist giving a guided tour in a supermarket to highlight better food choices.
“And sadly one in five children are above a healthy weight in NSW, so you can imagine that the norms of healthy weight have actually changed.”
Obesity treatment must be equitable
Australian Medical Association spokesman Brad Frankum said the most insidious problem with the obesity crisis is that it is unevenly distributed.
Professor Frankum said it was important to normalise healthy eating early on, because research showed more than 80 per cent of children who were obese become obese adults.
“There does seem to be an element of metabolic setting that happens in childhood that once you reach puberty— if you’re overweight, it does become harder to lose weight beyond that, so it is something to do with the way the body gets used to the nutrients that it gets.”
– Sue Daniel and Antigone Anagnostellis
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