The Australian Government has taken a variety of measures to improve public health and wellbeing through the promotion of physical activity and healthy eating.
The Australian Government provides funding, resources, information, tools, programs and other initiatives to the general public in its commitment to encouraging Australian citizens to have healthy lifestyles.
In recent campaign initiatives, Federal and State Governments have addressed physical activity and particularly obesity, by initiating preventative measures to improve the health of all Australians.
Strategies for Governments
1. Support Multi-Faceted Population-Wide Interventions
Examples of Federal Government Initiatives include:
Case Study 1: 'Get Moving' campaign
The 'Get Moving' campaign sought to target a wide cross section of the
community from children aged 5 through to teenagers and parents of
children aged 0-17. Its purpose was to communicate the need for greater levels of physical activity amongst children and adolescents.
The campaign advertising ran from February 2006 to June 2006, and
was split into three sections due to the wide target audience: parents,
children and teenagers.
The main message of this campaign was to 'get moving for an hour or more a day'.
This campaign was advertised through TV ads, radio ads, printed ads
and internet banner ads.
It gave teenagers, parents and children reliable, practical and user-friendly information on how to be active and information on why engaging in physical activity is so important.
This campaign has now changed to the Healthy Active Australia campaign and extra information and other strategies can be found using the link:
Case Study 2: 'Shape Up Australia' campaign
The 'Shape Up Australia' campaign is an Australian Government Initiative to help Australians reduce their waist measurements and improve their overall health and wellbeing.
'Shape Up' encourages Australian citizens to make sustainable everyday changes that will lead to a healthier lifestyle.
The Federal Government has developed a variety of resources to make it easier for Australians to make healthy lifestyle choices. These resources are available at http://www.shapeup.gov.au/resources and include guides such as 'Stay On Track When Eating Out'.
The Australian Government is also providing tools to help Australians 'Shape Up', and is currently developing a 'Shape Up' app that includes twelve-week meal plans, daily meal plans, shopping lists, activity trackers and weight trackers.
The 'Shape Up Australia' website also provides realistic and useful tips for getting physically active and finding time to get active.
Other examples of the Federal Government helping all Australians achieve healthier lives include initiatives such as:
- Get set 4 Life - Habits for Healthy Kids
- The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden National Program
- Healthy Spaces and Places
- Learning from Successful Community Obesity Initiative
- Healthy Weight information and resources
Further Australian Government Sites include:
'Go for 2&5™' fruit and vegetable campaign
Active After School Program - Australian Sports Commission
TravelSmart for Schools (incl Walking School Bus)
Healthinsite - quality assessed information on a wide range of important health topics
Nutrition and Healthy Eating – Department of Health and Ageing
Physical Activity – Department of Health and Ageing
Overweight and Obesity – Department of Health and Ageing
Examples of State Government Initiatives include:
- Healthy Kids: Eat Well, Get Active NSW Campaigns and Programs
This website links to a range of campaigns and programs that promote healthy lifestyles for young people including 'Munch and Move', 'Jump Rope for Heart', 'Play for Life' and 'Go for 2 & 5'.
- Be Active WA Physical Activity Taskforce
- Find Thirty Tasmanian Physical Activity Campaign
- The Office for Recreation and Sport website
- Disability, Recreation and Sports SA
-The Better Health Channel, a website providing health and medical information supported by the State Government of Victoria.
2. Support public education campaigns that aim to increase population levels of physical activity
- Including physical activity messages with activities at health fairs, walk/run events, etc.
- Distribute messages through television, newspapers, radio and other media
- Encourage local media to feature stories about teenagers who have made physical activity a priority
3. Coordinate approach so that simple, clear and consistent messages are delivered to the Australian public around physical activity through developing informative television ads, radio ads and brochures
4. Make cost-effective effects to support and encourage physical activity
5. Ensure that all sections of the Australian community have good access to safe physical activity opportunities
6. Make physical activity choices safe, easy, convenient and enjoyable so that people are encouraged to seek out opportunities to engage in physical activity
7. Pay attention to both incidental and planned physical activity when planning and building communities by designing bike lanes, parks, etc
For example, the recent Ministerial Statement Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport – Supporting Active Travel in Australian Communities' confirms the Government’s role in encouraging active transport through appropriate urban design.
8. Fund research
9. Consult experts and create recommendations and guidelines supporting increased physical activity in the population
In 2014, the Department of Health updated the previous version of Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines.
11. Implement physical activity in school curriculum
12. Coordinate between local, state and federal government levels with respect to funding and Government resources.
13. Involve multiple sectors of the community
Cross-sector collaboration is vital to ensure a coordinated approach. For example:
- Parks and recreation departments - to provide access
- Law enforcement agencies - to promote safety
- Urban planners - to design features
- Transportation agencies - to promote use, safety and access
- Architects - for design and construction