Obesity Collaborative Summit

About 200 people, including consumers and stakeholders from the health and community sectors, attended the recent Obesity Collaborative Summit to help develop a five-year WA Healthy Weight Action Plan to support people with early intervention and weight management.

The Summit, held on Wednesday, 17 October, was a joint initiative of WA Health, WA Primary Health Alliance and the Health Consumers’ Council.

It follows the Preventive Health Summit in March this year, and the Sustainable Health Review Interim Report, which identified obesity prevention as a priority.

The Interim Report revealed that 60 per cent of Western Australians are overweight or obese, including almost a quarter of children aged five to 15.

Equally concerning is mounting hospital inpatient costs predicted to increase by 102.6 per cent to almost half a billion dollars by 2021.

Urgent action is needed to tackle this issue which drastically increases the risk of chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, kidney, liver and heart disease, not to mention the social stigma and day to day impact on people’s lives.

On the day, participants heard from consumers about the difficulties they experienced in accessing treatment as well as their success stories when they were supported to reach a healthy weight.

Discussions among participants focused on how to improve support for children, adults and families, with ideas ranging from environmental, funding and health system improvements to more specific suggestions such as upskilling the health workforce, clear referral pathways and a consumer service directory.

The Obesity Collaborative was developed within a collective impact framework, recognising the value of, and need for, existing partner organisations to develop a combined response to this complex problem.