ACT News


Experts weigh in on Canberra's obesity epidemic

The ACT government's healthy weight initiative may be able to successfully tackle the territory's obesity problems, a leading expert says. 

On Thursday, ACT Chief Health Officer Andrew Pengilley met some of Australia's leading experts from the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre to assess the initiative's impact. 

Dr Pengilley said the workshop was about ensuring ACT Health had the best guidance on work being done under the initiative. 

"It's a major project across government to address the very important public health issue of obesity, but it also involves a new way of working across government and we really want to know if that's the best way to do things and to make sure we are actually achieving outcomes we want," he said. 

"This is a way of getting academics, people who have research backgrounds, to help us with some very robust ways of looking at this over the next couple of years." 

It is estimated that about two-thirds of ACT adults are overweight and one in four is obese. 


Australian Prevention Partnership Centre director Andrew Wilson said chronic disease was a rising burden. Tackling obesity required a multi-stranded approach and the healthy weight Initiative was consistent with best practice around the world, by focusing on healthy eating and promoting physical activity, Professor Wilson said. 

"When we compare it to best practice around the rest of the world, it looks like it's got all the different elements and it's got this added whole-of-government approach, which we think may make it more successful," he said. 

Earlier on Thursday, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher announced eight successful organisations that will receive $2 million under the healthy Canberra grants program. 

"The community partners funded under the healthy Canberra grants enable us to help improve physical activity levels and healthy eating habits for families and kids, and will also encourage healthy behaviours in a range of settings," she said.