Policy options for reducing obesity in Queensland schools
Photo by Christopher Flowers on Unsplash
What is it about?
School nutrition policies provide promising avenues towards the improvement of children’s eating habits and the prevention of obesity. Childhood obesity rates and related chronic diseases are increasing in Queensland, in part as a result of unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity. There is a very high investment by the Queensland government in maintaining healthy weight and promoting nutrition and physical activity among schoolchildren through delivering a range of initiatives across the state. However, there is a lack of evidence concerning the effectiveness of nutrition/physical education and parental involvement programs addressing obesity delivered in Queensland schools. This paper can be used to guide government and policy-makers regarding the most effective policy options that will promote healthy eating and physical activity among Queensland schoolchildren. The aim of this paper is to: (i) summarize current evidence on Queensland government responses to obesity; and (ii) discuss potential policy options that could support healthy eating and regular physical activity, and examine the evidence base for each option and suggest new areas for future research.
Why is it important?
The increasing rates of obesity among Queensland children will significantly increase the concomitant risk of chronic cardiometabolic disease such as diabetes unless sufficient strategies are adopted in a timely manner. Important strategies to reduce this risk is the limiting of access to unhealthy foods and drinks, replacing unhealthy foods and drinks with healthier choices, and increasing children's physical activity levels. The Queensland government has been responding to the obesity problem. However, there remains a need for government to implement further effective policies to reduce obesity in Queensland schools, as children are still eating low levels of fruit and vegetables and too many snack foods, and are physically inactive. The Queensland Government should provide supportive policy options to reduce obesity in Queensland schools. These may include the development of policy options focused on nutrition/physical education and parental involvement in nutrition and physical activities.
The following have contributed to this page: Dr Naser Alsharairi