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More Than a Health Issue: Addressing the Social Determinants of Obesity

Rather than blaming people for their obesity saying that they should eat healthier and exercise more, governments can make healthier foods more affordable and available, and to reduce the supply and promotion of unhealthy food.

Flickr/Gaulsstin

 

Overview

Over 60% of Australian adults and 25% of children are overweight or obese. 7200 people die of obesity in Australia every year. People are generally aware of what they need to do in order to reduce weight, but they are not always in a position to put that into practice.

High energy intake coupled with low physical activity are the two main factors contributing to obesity, and to reduce or prevent weight gain and obesity a simplistic view is to make people responsible for their own health and that they should eat healthier and exercise more.

Health in All Policies (HiAP) is one way of making government policies by building relationships between different departments to address the social determinants of health. HiAP emerged in 2006 in Finland and has become official policy of the European Union. The South Australian government has been using the HiAP approach since 2007.

The departments agreed to a series of policy changes to address the social determinants of obesity, which are included in South Australia’s Eat Well Be Active Strategy.

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