Policy priorities

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Policy priorities


In order to reduce the effect of overweight and obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition on cancer, a multi-sectoral approach involving all levels of government is recommended. See below for a summary of evidence-based policy priorities in this area. The evidence to support these recommendations is contained in the Effective interventions section of this chapter.


Table 1. Strategy for reducing cancer burden due to overweight and obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition

Implement a comprehensive obesity control strategy
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Achieve effective, coordinated policy development and implementation across all levels and portfolios of government Multiple partners, led by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA) and Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Low cost, structural reform See A comprehensive multi-sectoral approach Coordination of multiple strategies will synergise efforts and resources
Encourage healthy weight, increased physical activity and healthy eating through social marketing
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Develop, implement and evaluate sustained, adequately funded, effective national social marketing campaigns, supported by complementary policies and programs ANPHA, state and territory governments, health groups See Public education To maximise effectiveness of social media campaigns, unhealthy food and beverage advertising must be restricted

$59m over four years (2009-10 to 2012-13) has been allocated to the MeasureUp social media campaign

Utilise key settings to deliver healthy living programs
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Implement programs aiming to increase physical activity and healthy eating through schools, childcare and out of school hours care All governments (Australian/state/territory/local), education sector See Settings based interventions $325.5m over four years (2011-12 to 2014-15) has been provided through the Healthy Children’s Initiative

Program evaluation is an integral part of expanding the evidence base in this area

Implement workplace programs aiming to increase physical activity and healthy eating All governments (Australian/state/territory/local), ANPHA, employer groups, unions, workplace health program providers See Settings based interventions $294.4m over four years (2011-12 to 2014-15) has been provided under the Healthy Workers Initiative

Program evaluation is an integral part of expanding the evidence base in this area

Implement community based programs aimed at increasing physical activity and healthy eating All governments (Australian/state/territory/local), ANPHA, Australian Local Government Association See Settings based interventions $72m over four years has been provided under the Healthy Communities Initiative

Program evaluation is an integral part of expanding the evidence base in this area

Create environments that support increased physical activity
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Provide built environments that encourage and support people to be more physically active Multiple partners including COAG, state, territory and local governments, urban planners, developers, and Infrastructure Australia See The physical environment Will entail both upgrading existing environments and ensuring new developments support active living
Integrate healthy living principles into urban planning policies Multiple partners including state, territory and local governments, urban planners, and developers Low cost, structural reform See The physical environment
Develop and implement an integrated national active transport strategy that encourages more walking, cycling and public transport use All governments (Australian/state/territory/local) led through COAG, transport sector, Infrastructure Australia See The physical environment
Create environments that support healthy food choices
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Develop an integrated national food and nutrition plan to improve the availability of affordable, accessible nutritious food for all Australians COAG Low cost, structural reform See National Food and Nutrition Framework Development of a National Food Plan is currently under consideration

Cancer Council Australia are seeking a greater focus on health and nutrition

Introduce a mandatory evidence based, interpretive front-of-pack food labelling system (such as 'Multiple Traffic Lights') across all retail grocery food products Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council Cost neutral See Food labelling A new food labelling system must be informed by evidence to ensure that the system is easily understood and assists consumers to make healthy choices

An accompanying public education campaign will be required upon implementation to assist consumer understanding in the context of healthy eating

Restrict marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children across all media Australian Communication and Media Authority, ANPHA Cost neutral See Food marketing to children Current industry self-regulatory approaches are ineffective
Introduce regulation to require nutrient profiling of foods making health and nutrition claims Food Standards Australia New Zealand See Health claims
Increase the nutritional quality of processed foods through product reformulation and innovation Food and Health Dialogue, food industry See Food reformulation Mandatory targets for food reformulation are likely to achieve greater benefits than voluntary targets
Strengthen primary care to support preventive interventions
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Increase support to facilitate preventive health activities in a primary care setting Australian Government, ANPHA, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Medicare Locals See Role of primary care Innovative funding models will need to be developed
Expand the health workforce and health services to ensure community access to preventive health services Health Workforce Australia See Role of primary care As above
Target disadvantaged population groups
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Develop targeted strategies to increase physical activity and healthy eating and reduce obesity prevalence in indigenous, low socio-economic, and rural and remote communities All governments (Australian/state/territory/local), ANPHA, Indigenous groups See Special groups
Develop economic interventions for preventive health
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Investigate the potential to use fiscal levers such as taxation incentives, grants, pricing and subsidies to encourage physical activity and healthy diets Treasury Low cost See Economic Interventions An expanded evidence base is required before widespread action is taken
Expand the evidence base
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Allocate funding for conducting and disseminating behavioural and epidemiological research ANPHA, National Health and Medical Research Council Modest, funded on a project by project basis See Research, monitoring and evaluation International studies will also provide valuable information
Introduce stipulated requirements for monitoring and evaluation of funded interventions ANPHA, National Health and Medical Research Council Modest, funded on a project by project basis See Research, monitoring and evaluation Building evaluation into preventive health programs will expand the evidence base for the effectiveness of interventions in real world contexts and on a population level, informing further policy development


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