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George Institute experts speak at Senate Select Committee into Australia’s obesity epidemic

Deputy Director Professor Bruce Neal appeared before the Senate Select Committee on behalf of The George Institute for Global Health to discuss solutions to the growing epidemic.

Professor Neal said at the hearing: “Australians haven’t become sloths and gluttons ... the food environment has changed making Australia one of the most obese nations in the world."

Obesity is one of the greatest challenges facing Australian society, and our health system. Two thirds of Australian adults and one quarter of children are now overweight or obese. The fact that more than one million Australian children are of unhealthy weight is particularly concerning because they will face greatly increased future risks of serious diseases like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. These conditions incur huge personal and economic costs on Australian families.

Research Fellow at The George Institute, Alexandra Jones, also appeared before the Committee on behalf of the Food Governance Node at the Charles Perkins Centre. Ms Jones said at the hearing: “We will not see public health progress if we continue to let industry set their own rules and mark their own homework. Like many groups before the enquiry, we endorse the recommendations of Tipping the Scales. We could certainly start by strengthening existing initiatives by setting stronger targets for reducing salt and sugar, and making the Health Star Rating mandatory."

Professor Neal and Ms Jones were invited by the Senate to discuss recent submissions to the Committee in July 2018.