Australian gov't urged to take action on "fattest generation"

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-13 12:26:59|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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CANBERRA, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Experts have called on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take greater action on the nation's obesity epidemic.

According to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), 63 percent of Australian adults are overweight or obese.

Separate data from the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has revealed that obesity is costing the Australian economy approximately 60 billion Australian dollars (41.5 billion U.S. dollars) every year.

However, only 2 percent of the government's budget for financial year 2019/20 has been allocated to preventative health.

A group of experts on Thursday banded together to urge the government to take greater action on what they said was Australia's most serious public health issue.

Terry Slevin, chief executive of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHHA), told the Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that concerns about the impact that anti-obesity campaigns have on body positivity have to be put aside.

"Bearing in mind we are the fattest generation Australia has ever produced, unless we tackle that, with a range of things, and sometimes people are going to feel uncomfortable, than that trend is only going to get worse," he said.

"We don't want to not tackle the problem for fear of offending a small number of people," he said.

Slevin called for at least 5 percent of the budget to be spent on preventative health while the AMA reiterated its support for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

"It is not a panacea for all obesity, but empty energy calories, empty energy input is simply not part of a good healthy lifestyle," AMA President Tony Bartone said.