In 1985, around 1 in 10 Australian children were overweight or obese. Today, that number is 1 in 4 – and projections show that by 2025 it will be 1 in 3.
The Medibank Better Health Index also shows how obesity in Australian adults is continuing to rise, with the average Aussie about 300 grams heavier today than in 2007-2008.
The increase of obesity – specifically childhood obesity – in Australia and around the world, is ringing alarm bells. Overweight or obese children are likely to become overweight or obese adults, with poor consequences for their health, the health system and the community.
In 2012, Medibank joined forces with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation –who educate children to form positive food habits for life — to collaborate in the shared goal of Growing Healthy Kids.
Medibank’s support ranges from financial support to the Foundation for carrying on its not-for-profit work in health promotion and education, to providing schools and learning centers with Kitchen Garden Classroom memberships and volunteers for working bees.
Since Medibank became the Principal Partner of the Foundation, participation in pleasurable food education has grown from 33,400 learners per year in 2012 to more than 100,000 learners in kitchen garden schools and centres nationwide, every year, today.
This partnership has also enabled educators in schools, early years learning centres and community organisations more access to the Foundation’s professional development, educational resources and Kitchen Garden Classroom membership service.
Dr Linda Swan, Medibank’s Chief Medical Officer said World Obesity Day is a chance for everyone to reflect on how we can tackle the rising levels of obesity.
“We know obesity is a significant contributor to a broad range of health issues, and the problem is unfortunately getting worse. World Obesity Day is a chance for us to reflect on the positive progress we’ve made and also to consider what more can be done at local, national and global levels.”
All parents, guardians, educators and community advocates are invited to visit www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au for more information on how to integrate a pleasurable food education program into their local school or learning centre today, and further develop a food philosophy that supports a healthy lifestyle, committed to reducing childhood obesity.