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Med J Aust. 2009 Feb 2;190(3):146-8.

Childhood obesity in Australia remains a widespread health concern that warrants population-wide prevention programs.

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  • 1Institute of Obesity, Nutrition and Exercise, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW. tim.gill@usyd.edu.au


Recent reports have suggested that the problem of childhood and adolescent obesity has been exaggerated in Australia, and that community-wide obesity prevention initiatives are not warranted; we argue that this is not an accurate reflection of the situation. Available data indicate that obesity affects 6%-8% of Australian schoolchildren, and that the proportion has continued to increase in recent years. Childhood and adolescent obesity is associated with a wide range of immediate health concerns, as well as increasing the risk of disease in adulthood. Some weight-related health problems are also found in overweight children. A range of strategies, including whole-of-community obesity prevention programs, will be required to tackle this problem. Concerns about disordered eating in children and adolescents should not preclude appropriate action on childhood obesity.

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