First 1000 days are critical in tackling childhood obesity, Senate Inquiry report finds
A Senate Inquiry report into childhood obesity has highlighted the importance of the first thousand days of a child’s life, noting a recent study which found that infants experiencing rapid weight gain between birth and two years of age had nearly four times greater odds of being overweight or obese later in life.
The Inquiry Report made many recommendations to address the growing concerns about the rate of childhood obesity in Australia, and comes as many in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector call on Federal Education Minister, Dan Tehan, to take greater responsibility for including education on health and nutrition in early childhood, working with children, families, and cooks to address the issue of childhood obesity in Australia.
Some recommendations in the Senate Inquiry report relevant to those in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector include:
- Establishing a National Obesity Taskforce, with a sub-committee directly responsible for the development and management of a National Childhood Obesity Strategy – similar to the strategy in place in the United Kingdom.
- Australian Dietary Guidelines should be updated every five years
- The introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, with the objectives of reducing consumption, improving public health and accelerating the reformulation of products.
- A range of national education campaigns with different sectors of the Australian community.
Inquiry participants identified that many factors influence whether children will become overweight or obese in their early years, pointing to the need to develop and implement a range of strategies to prevent and treat childhood obesity. Education and socioeconomic factors were identified as key components of the prevalence of childhood obesity.
The report can be read in full here