Obese, inactive and eating too much sugar

Teenage boys consume a staggering 23 teaspoons of sugar daily – an average of 92g a day – according to a new series of alarming report cards on Australian health from the Australian Health Policy Collaboration at Victoria University.
Australia’s Health Tracker, released at a national forum this week in Melbourne, shows almost 30 per cent of young people are overweight or obese and a staggering 91.5 per cent are not doing enough physical activity.

The stark assessment of the nation’s declining health also find that almost 40 per cent of young people’s total daily energy consumption comes from junk food.
Other findings include:

  • The number of overweight children in Australia has doubled, with more than a quarter of children now considered overweight or obese.
  • More than six per cent of young people binge drink.
  • Only 78 per cent of young people with a mental illness are employed or studying compared with 91 per cent of young people without.
  • Indigenous young people aged 15-17 are 4.5 times more likely to smoke daily.

Director of the Australian Health Policy Collaboration at Victoria University Rosemary Calder says risk factors encountered during childhood and adolescence could lead to increased risk of chronic disease.

“We urgently need action to help prevent chronic diseases in Australian children and young people and improve their health across the life course,” she said.

More than 50 health organisations worked together on Australia’s Heath Tracker – the first assessment of its kind – to warn governments and industries that immediate action is needed to fight chronic disease.

This forum will see more than 80 organisations, including the National Heart Foundation and Cancer Council Australia, meet to discuss strategies to drive a national agenda for change.