A policy roadmap to address unhealthy diet and obesity
Project title: Benchmarking obesity prevention policies in Australia
Project lead: Dr Gary Sacks, Deakin University
16 March 2017
A Prevention Centre project has developed a Food Policy Index to assess food- and obesity-related policies in Australian jurisdictions and to identify gaps in those policies.
Based on the Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI), which was developed to assess government policy across 14 action areas related to food environments, the project brought together more than 100 experts from 53 organisations, including academics, nutritionists and senior representatives from health NGOs and community groups.
In a series of workshops across the country, the experts assessed the extent of implementation in each policy area, for each level of government. They also identified policy recommendations for each jurisdiction, and prioritised them based on their perceived importance and achievability.
Scorecards and priority recommendations were released for each government in February 2017. The launch achieved widespread media attention and, with the reports downloaded more than 500 times from the website, foodpolicyindex.org.au
In the following days, there were formal responses to the report by the Health Minister, the Shadow Health Minister, the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the AMA.
Project lead Dr Gary Sacks said the project clearly identified concrete actions that each government in Australia could take right now to address obesity.
“This provides a strong basis for holding governments to account for their policy response to this major public health issue,” he said.