Overweight and obesity is common in all population groups in Australia with 67% of men, 52% of women and up to 25% of school children considered overweight or obese.
Overweight and obesity in children and adolescents has increased markedly for boys and girls of all ages in the past few decades.
Adverse health effects associated with overweight and obesity include a range of chronic diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, kidney and gall bladder disease, musculoskeletal and respiratory problems.
All of these can lead to reduced enjoyment and quality of life. Children are not immune to the adverse health and psychological effects associated with obesity.
Obesity develops over time and obesity in childhood places individuals at an increased risk for obesity in adulthood. The causes of rising rates of obesity are complex and varied.
Widely recognised factors that contribute to childhood obesity include increased energy intake through increased availability of fast food, more food purchased outside of the home and exposure to fast food advertising. Decreased physical activity and more time spend in sedentary activities are also known to contribute.
Lower income and disadvantaged families experience higher rates of overweight and obesity as well as inadequate intakes of fruit and vegetables when compared to medium to high income families.
Studies aimed at obesity interventions in lower income and disadvantaged families are effective in improving weight, diet and physical activity in the short-term. Studies also show that long-term changes may be possible with culturally appropriate programs that provide a sense of local ownership.
The Back to Basics program was developed and piloted in response to these research findings.