Obesity is a chronic medical condition which is associated with a wide range of debilitating and life threatening conditions. Overweight and obesity increases the risk of developing chronic disease, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and some cancers.
Australia is experiencing unprecedented levels of overweight and obesity and NSW is no exception. In 2011, 52.6% of NSW adults (59.8% of males and 45.4% of females) were overweight or obese and in 2010, 22.8% of children (24% of boys and 21.5% of girls) were overweight or obese.
In 2008, the economic impact in NSW of obesity alone was estimated by Access Economics to be $19 billion, this includes $2.7b financial costs including productivity losses and $16.3b in costs of lost wellbeing. The prevention of chronic disease offers significant potential for societal gain, including benefits for individuals and families.
Unhealthy eating, in particular the over-consumption of energy dense, nutrient poor foods and drinks, physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle are predictors of overweight and obesity. Consuming more energy (kilojoules) than the body needs will lead to weight gain especially if combined with a low energy output (low activity level). Even a small excess energy intake over time can lead to weight gain resulting in overweight and obesity.