Overweight children and their parents will benefit from Australia’s first family-centred obesity clinic set up to help educate and treat families losing the battle of the bulge.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said the $1 million Nepean Blue Mountains Family Obesity Service will help thousands of families in NSW break the cycle of obesity.
“Disturbingly, around one in five children are overweight or obese and without intervention they risk developing chronic disease later in life,” Mr Hazzard said.
“This service is the first of its kind in Australia and offers families the medical and social support they need to maintain a healthy weight from one dedicated team.”
The service draws on the expertise of a specialist team of doctors, paediatricians, dieticians, psychologists, physiotherapists, nurses and midwives. Patients, including pregnant women, children and adults are referred to the free service by their GP.
More than half of all people aged 16 years and above in NSW were considered overweight or obese in 2015, costing the state an estimated $19 billion a year. Almost 40,000 public hospital admissions in 2014/15 were due to high body mass.
Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres said the new service based at the Nepean Hospital campus will serve the Greater Western Sydney catchment and beyond and supports yet another of the Premier’s priorities.
“Tackling childhood obesity is a commitment of this Government because if we continue to do nothing like Labor did, we risk sending our kids to an early grave,” Mr Ayres said.
“Over 80 per cent of obese children go on to become obese adults with an increased risk of developing chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.”
Factors such as genetics, lifestyle, social and cultural issues all play a part in maintaining healthy weight and the new service offers targeted interventions.
The Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD) has partnered with the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network and the Charles Perkins Centre of The University of Sydney to deliver the service.