WIMMERA health leaders have welcomed a new hard-hitting education campaign based on a confronting depiction of the damage obesity can cause.
Health Minister David Davis said graphic campaigns had effects on smoking rates, road safety and on efforts to reduce skin cancer.
“The LiveLighter campaign offers a powerful visual representation of what’s happening inside the body of those who are overweight or obese and reminds us all of how dangerous being overweight or obese is,” he said.
Grampians Medicare Local chief executive Andrew McPherson said the campaign was a fantastic idea.
“It raises the issue of obesity but also of physical activity, which is particularly concerning because not only do we seem to be getting more obese, we are not doing enough physical activity,” he said.
“I fully support the State Government for taking this step.”
Mr McPherson said obesity was an increasing problem in the region.
“Obesity is quite prevalent in low socio-economic areas, including in the Wimmera,” he said.
Mr McPherson said the associated risk behaviours with obesity were quite high.
“Obesity can cause many things such as cardiac disease, arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions,” he said.
“There are also risks of some cancers and diabetes.”
He hoped the campaign would help tackle obesity.
“Changing health behaviour usually takes a combination of things,” he said.
“It is helped by public information campaigns like this. It is also helped by people getting good advice from doctors, so we need to attack the problem from a number of fronts.”
Mr McPherson said curbing obesity would be more challenging than other health problems.
“Lowering smoking rates was achieved through a combination of health promotion and regulatory changes, such as banning smoking from certain areas and plain packaging.
“We don’t have that opportunity with obesity, except in changing legislation around food labelling, which is strongly resisted by alcohol lobby groups and the Australian Retailers Association.”
Mr Davis said in addition to the confronting images, the campaign would highlight the little things people could do differently that would have measurable positive effects.
“The State Government is building a healthier Victoria through Healthy Together Victoria, which addresses the causes of preventable chronic disease,” he said.
“More than 500,000 Victorians are benefiting from early childhood services, schools and workplaces that have pledged to create healthier environments.”