As World Obesity Day passes for another year, researchers say Australians who are obese as young adults risk dying up to 10 years earlier.
Research from The George Institute for Global Health, and University of Sydney, published in the International Journal of Obesity, raises the most concern for heavily overweight people in their 20s and 30s.
A three-fold increase in severe obesity among young adults since 1995, and predictions of a worsening trend means even more years of life will be lost in the future.
Obesity is now the leading cause of preventable death in Australia, with life expectancy being significantly reduced.
Lead author, Thomas Lung, said the model predicts adult obesity prevelance will increase to 35% by 2025.
“We need to act now and have an obesity prevention strategy targeting adults of all ages, and in particular young adults,” he said.
Two thirds of West Australian adults are either overweight or obese, in turn putting serious strain on hospital and medical costs.
The prominence of unhealthy food and advertisements enables this culture of obesity, but experts say the issue can be tackled with healthy marketing and information.
“Sugary food and junk food starts to play quite heavily into people’s diets…”
“What used to be a treat food unfortunately has creeped into an everyday consumption,” said Jenny Atkins, Acting Manager of Nutrition and Physical Activity at Cancer Council WA.
She said individuals should not be blamed for their eating behaviour, but the right message needs to provided, enabling a more informed healthier choice.
“I think certainly in this current environment, people are acutely aware of their lifestyles and people want to be healthier, so they just need that little bit of help in terms of how to do that,” she explained.
Previously the mind set was when you have excess fat it is just stored under your skin, like a padding. But now we know excess fat is stores around your body organs, with that visceral fast releasing chemicals and hormones that have detrimental effects on your body.
Ms Atkins, and the Cancer Council WA, is calling on the Government to create a level environment where healthy options are favoured, with less promotion of junk food, improved access to health food, and the introduction of better food labelling, so you know exactly how much of what you’re consuming.
Health Minister Roger Cook has implemented a directive for State hospitals to comply with the Health Options WA Policy by October 31, 2018. This policy will result in half of the food options available in state hospital outlets and vending machines being health, with no more than 20 per cent of foods available being junk food.