Cost-effective ways to help beat obesity in Australia

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National Obesity Strategy

It’s well-known that the obesity epidemic is well-established, with the prevalence of overweight and obesity continuing to increase over recent years.

What’s more, studies have shown that Australia has the fifth highest prevalence of overweight and obesity – presenting a significant health burden with a substantial economic impact.

Due to these statistics and the known consequences of overweight or obesity on long-term health outcomes, there have been countless efforts to address this health epidemic.

Now, a new study – the ACE-Obesity Policy study – published in PLOS ONE­­, which looked at “the economic credentials of a suite of obesity prevention policies” has found that while all of the study’s 16 potential interventions (including community-based interventions) were found to be cost-effective, the three most effective interventions were all regulatory interventions and included:

  • A per-unit tax on alcohol;
  • A 20 per cent sugar-sweetened beverages tax;
  • Restricting television advertising of unhealthy foods.

While further research is warranted, the study’s authors concluded: “All 16 interventions evaluated were cost-effective and demonstrated great potential for long-term health benefits.”

Given that community-based initiatives were also included in the 16 interventions found to be effective in the fight against obesity (both from a cost and health perspective), this strengthens the position of community pharmacies as potential locations for effective obesity interventions.

To read the study in full, visit: journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0234804.