Advertisement
Heart, Lung and Circulation

Heart Foundation supporting Australians to achieve and maintain a healthy weight

        Heart Foundation supporting Australians to achieve and maintain a healthy weight

        Jasmine Just, BMBS, BBiomedSc
        Nikita Muller, APD, MDietSt, BHSc
        Elaine Ho, APD, MHSc(IPH), BSc(NutrDiet)(Hons)
        Overweight and obesity are risk factors for numerous chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer [
        Cancer Council Victoria. Obesity Evidence Hub.
        ]. Overweight/obesity is the second leading risk factor, only behind tobacco, contributing to disease burden in Australia, and accounts for over a quarter of the coronary heart disease burden [
        Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
        Australian Burden of Disease Study 2018: Interactive data on risk factor burden.
        ].

        National Obesity Strategy

        The National Obesity Strategy 2022-2032, published in March 2022, is a framework to prevent and reduce overweight and obesity in Australia [
        Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. National Obesity Strategy 2022-2032. 2022.
        ]. To achieve the Strategy’s vision that encourages and enables healthy weight and healthy living for all, the federal and state and territory governments have committed to the following three ambitions:
        • 1.
          Creating supportive, sustainable and healthy environments, through strategies such as improving nutrition information to help consumers make healthy choices.
        • 2.
          Empowering people to stay healthy, driven by activities that improve knowledge, skills and confidence.
        • 3.
          Ensuring access to early intervention and care, via approaches that strengthen workforce capacity and improve models of care and referral pathways.
        Aligning closely with the Heart Foundation’s vision of an Australia free of heart disease, we welcomed the Strategy’s strong emphasis on equity. Addressing the modern ‘obesogenic’ environment requires a whole-of-system approach that considers the wider determinants of health including the availability, accessibility and affordability of food and drinks.

        How is the Heart Foundation helping more people achieve a healthy weight?

        The Heart Foundation is committed to implementing the principles that guide the Strategy and recognise that to halt the rise and reverse the trend of overweight and obesity, we need multi-sectoral engagement and action.
        The Heart Foundation supports evidence-based policy initiatives to create healthier food environments:
        • Clear and transparent food labelling
        • Mandating and strengthening the Health Star Rating system
        • Restricting unhealthy food marketing to children
        • Creating environments that enable physical activity
        The Heart Foundation also supports individuals to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through our physical activity and food and nutrition programs and resources:
        • Our food and nutrition position statements on heart-healthy eating, alcohol, meat, eggs, dairy, salt and dietary fat, underpinned by high-quality evidence.
        • Our catering guidelines to help organisations achieve heart-healthy eating in the workplace.
        • Our delicious heart-healthy recipes and recipe e-books, including titles like family recipes on a budget, five-ingredient recipes, and fish. We also have a four-week heart-healthy dinner plan, which has had over 86,000 visitors to date.
        • Our work on Healthy Active by Design, to highlight how best practice planning and design of buildings, streets, towns and cities can improve Australians’ heart health.
        • Heart Foundation Walking, with over 1,200 walking groups available nationwide and our six-week Personal Walking Plans which people can access anywhere, anytime.
        • Jump Rope for Heart, our iconic skipping program supporting primary school-aged children to form heart-healthy habits early in life.
        To explore our range of food and nutrition resources, visit: heartfoundation.org.au/bundles/for-professionals/nutrition-resources-for-practice-and-patient-care
        To learn more about Heart Foundation Walking, visit: walking.heartfoundation.org.au

        References

        1. Cancer Council Victoria. Obesity Evidence Hub.
          www.obesityevidencehub.org.au
          Date: 2020
          Date accessed: August 29, 2022
          • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
          Australian Burden of Disease Study 2018: Interactive data on risk factor burden.
        2. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. National Obesity Strategy 2022-2032. 2022.