Strong public support for obesity prevention policies in Australia

new study shows that mothers of young children in New South Wales hold very high support for a broad range of obesity prevention policies available at the state level of government.

The survey asked 1155 mothers enrolled in the CHAT Trial to what extent they thought these government-led policies could have an impact and help people live healthier lives, and found an 89-95% approval of government intervention in these areas.

Emma Esdaile, a PhD candidate within stream 4, and team found that support was consistently high for whole-of-population food and built environment policies as it was for policies more readily identifiable as aimed at children.

The policies included ranged across the public health spectrum and included routine measurement of child height at weight at health appointments, supportive programs for parents, childcare centre regulations, investment in footpaths and cycleways, removal of discretionary choices advertising on public transport, and zoning laws to limit the number of fast food outlets in an area.

They used the Health Belief Model to examine the associations between maternal characteristics, mothers’ perceptions of childhood obesity, and their extent of support for policies. They found that some characteristics and perceptions of obesity were associated with the extent of support for policies, but the results were heterogenous and the cohort held strong beliefs about the risks of obesity in childhood.

The paper was accepted in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia and contributes to the research on public support for obesity prevention policies in Australia. Other studies in Australia have mostly focused on policy options available to the Commonwealth, whereas this study focused on policy options available to the New South Wales government.

For further details, please contact Emma Esdaile on

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