Protecting our children from obesity: challenges and opportunities

Michael J Moore, Martin McKee and Aimee L Brownbill
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00695
Published online: 17 September 2018

The reluctance of Australian policy makers to take evidence-based action on childhood obesity is unacceptable

Despite the threat of shorter lifespan for the first time in generations, Australian policy makers remain reluctant to protect our children from increasing levels of obesity. Yet the reasons for this crisis and the need to act, especially on the aggressive marketing of energy-dense food and drink, are both well understood. The World Health Organization has provided an action plan to translate evidence into action,1 and a narrative review in this issue of the MJA sets out clearly the scale and nature of the problem and what can be done to address it.2

  • 1 University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT
  • 2 World Federation of Public Health Associations, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 3 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  • 4 University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. World Health Organization. Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. Implementation plan: executive summary. Geneva: WHO, 2017. (viewed July 2018).
  • 2. Mihrshahi S, Gow ML, Baur LA. Contemporary approaches to the prevention and management of paediatric obesity: an Australian focus. Med J Aust 2018; 209: 267-274.
  • 3. Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, South Australia. Final report. Adelaide: SA Government, 1979.
  • 4. Daube M. Changing the world of health – obstacles and opportunities. Proceedings of the Public Health Association of Australia Public Health Prevention Conference; 2018 May 2–4; Sydney, Australia. (viewed July 2018).
  • 5. Barlow P, Serôdio P, Ruskin G, et al. Science organisations and Coca-Cola’s ‘war’ with the public health community: insights from an internal industry document. J Epidemiol Community Health 2018; doi: 10.1136/jech-2017-210375 [Epub ahead of print].
  • 6. Petticrew M, Katikireddi SV, Knai C, et al. ‘Nothing can be done until everything is done’: the use of complexity arguments by food, beverage, alcohol and gambling industries. J Epidemiol Community Health 2017; 71: 1078-1083.
  • 7. Gribbin C, Borrello E, Uhlmann C. George Christensen ‘contemplates resigning’, threatens to shake up Turnbull’s majority. ABC News 2017; 18 Feb. (viewed July 2018).
  • 8. Moore M, Yeatman H, Pollard C. Evaluating success in public health advocacy strategies. Vietnam J Public Health 2013; 1: 66-75.
  • 9. Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia. Advocacy in action: a toolkit for public health professionals. 3rd ed. Perth: Curtin University, 2013. (viewed July 2018).
  • 10. Freeman B, Gartner C, Hall W, Chapman S. Forecasting future tobacco control policy: where to next? Aust N Z J Public Health 2010; 34: 447-450.
  • 11. Chapman S, Alpers P, Jones M. Association between gun law reforms and intentional firearm deaths in Australia, 1979-2013. JAMA 2016; 316: 291-299.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.