Friday, October 2, 2009

Quick bit on obesity prevention

Today was a bit deadly to blog about, but anyhow... I did get a fair bit done on my health economics assignment. I was exploring materials on the estimated costs of prevention campaigns against obesity and cardiovascular disease. Most of the studies done are of older people who already attend their GP with a risk factor or early disease- they already have high blood pressure, obesity, high bad cholesterol levels or diabetes 2- or a combination of these. The researchers just look at the costs of giving them various drugs and using verbal information to encourage them to eat more wisely and lose weight. I'm much more interested in the primary end of prevention, where young children and their families are encouraged to eat wisely from the beginning and to make exercise a natural and enjoyable part of their lives, so that it doesn't seem like a chore later in life.
There are lots of recommendations and suggestions from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and FAO on primary prevention, but I haven't heard of any great implementation efforts in Australia. I just came across a Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin Uni, but I'd never heard of it before- which is a bit odd since I'm studying public health in Australia already.
This piece actually got transported over from my personal blog.
My overall view is that our national governments need to incorporate healthy exercise into the national healthcare programs, putting as much emphasis on getting people to participate from early childhood as they do on other things. How would we feel if exercise was given as much funding as GP visits, hospital admissions, drugs and pathology tests!? It seems a bit odd at first encounter, but to me its a logical transition- let's see someone taking some steps in this direction.

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