The latest set of reports assessing the obesity prevention policies of the federal government and each state and territory in Australia has just been released. The reports are a follow-up to the original Food Policy Index reports first created as part of a 2017 Prevention Centre project with the Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition Research (GLOBE).
The research team, led by Professor Gary Sacks, benchmarked each jurisdiction’s policies against international best practice using the Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI), developed by INFORMAS (International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support). Some 84 experts from 37 organisations participated in the assessment process that also included prioritisation of recommendations for improving population nutrition and creating healthier food environments.
While Australian governments have taken some important steps to address unhealthy diets, there has been limited policy change in the last five years. The lack of policy progress compared to other countries means that Australia is going backwards.Professor Gary Sacks
The full set of reports outlining the performance of each jurisdiction against best practice is available on the Food Policy Index website with a wealth of information on policy implementation across the country.
The Food Policy Index covers key policy areas for improving population diets, including specific aspects of food environments (such as food composition, labelling, promotion, prices and provision) as well as infrastructure support (such as leadership, governance, monitoring and funding) for effective policy implementation.
The reports highlight expert consensus on priority areas for action, including restrictions on children’s exposure to marketing of unhealthy food, and the development of detailed implementation plans for the National Preventive Health Strategy and the National Obesity Strategy.Professor Gary Sacks
The Federal Government report was launched at the International Congress on Obesity in October 2022 with state/territory reports progressively in each jurisdiction including:
- Victoria November 2022 launch with Dietitians Australia and Nutrition Australia
- NSW December 2022 launch with Cancer Council NSW
- Western Australia March 2023 launch with Cancer Council WA
- Northern Territory March 2023 launch with theCoalition for Healthy Remote Stores
- Tasmania April 2023 launch with the Premier’s Health and Wellbeing Advisory Council
- ACT May 2023 launch with Nutrition Australia ACT