Every Australian child’s height and weight would be measured and recorded in primary school unless parents chose to opt out* of the checks under a drastic* plan to improve Australia’s worsening* obesity* crisis*.
Checks would be done for all children in Year 1 and Year 6 at minimum*, or every two years at best, to better help the government completely understand Australia’s obesity crisis.
The Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE) — a research group based at Deakin University, Victoria, and working with the World Health Organisation on obesity prevention* — is urging* the government to begin the checks for all children, warning Australia is “lagging behind” countries such as the UK, France, Ireland and Canada in efforts to reduce obesity.
In a report made to the federal government’s inquiry* into the nation’s “obesity epidemic*”, GLOBE says the checks, which would be compulsory unless parents opted out, would provide “meaningful*, timely* data” to identify* locations tackling obesity well and make sure resources* went to areas of greatest need.
Similar models are used in the UK and about half of the states in the US already as part of strategies* to tackle obesity.
GLOBE is also calling for a new tax on sugary drinks that would raise their price by 20 per cent and for advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube for unhealthy food and drinks to be regulated*, as well as restrictions on advertising on free-to-air TV to be extended to 9.30pm.
Discussion and presentation sessions, called hearings, begin for the obesity epidemic inquiry in August.
opt out: elect not to take part
worsening: getting worse
obesity: the state of being very overweight
crisis: serious, immediate problem
minimum: the least or smallest amount
prevention: stopping something from happening
urging: asking strongly
epidemic: a disease that effects a lot of people
meaningful: has meaning, or means a lot
timely: at the right time
identify: notice or show
resources: staff, money and equipment
LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY
1. Why could the checks be helpful for the government?
2. How does Australia rate on obesity prevention compared to other countries, according to GLOBE?
3. What other countries are already doing similar healthy checks?
4. Could parents choose for their children not to be checked?
5. What is GLOBE’s plan to make sugary drinks more expensive?
1. Healthy Living
Obesity is when you have too much body fat. There is a disturbing trend in Australia where obesity rates are rising in children. Being overweight causes lots of health problems and might not make you feel good about yourself.
Complete a poster outlining all the things you can do to live a healthy life and to help ensure you don’t become overweight. Draw some pictures to accompany your ideas and try to send positive messages. With permission from your teacher or principal, place your posters around the school encouraging healthy and active living.
2. Extension: What are the health and other issues facing children who are obese?
Time: Allow 30 minutes
Curriculum links: Health & Physical Education, English
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight all the openers you can find in blue. Discuss if they are powerful and varied openers or not. Why do you think the journalist has used a mix of simple and power openers? Would you change any, and why?
QUESTION: If you were in charge at your school, what would you do to help children stay fit, healthy and a healthy weight?
No one-word or emojis-only answers! Use full sentences.