Hon Judi Moylan

Tackling childhood obesity and the onset of Type 2 Diabetes in Australia

The Federal Government has announced a plan to combat childhood obesity, according to Member for Pearce and Chair of the Parliamentary Diabetes Support Group (PDSG) Hon Judi Moylan MP. As part of the initiative thousands of children across the country will be weighed, asked about what they eat and how often they exercise. Ms Moylan has welcomed the program, which forms the first stage of the anti-obesity campaign combining the skills and knowledge of the Government, industry and community sectors. The Commonwealth Government recently announced a new Ministerial taskforce to tackle rising obesity rates and surveys will be conducted to determine what Australians are eating and their levels of physical activity, beginning with children. As Chair of the Parliamentary Diabetes Support Group, which she initiated several years ago, Ms Moylan has a significant interest in the importance of diet and exercise in preventing chronic illnesses such as Type 2 Diabetes. “Regular exercise, particularly weight training, can build muscle mass, reduce the incidence of heart disease, prevent osteoporosis and help people to lose weight,” she explained. Ms Moylan added that it is important to note that although prevention is undoubtedly better than cure when it comes to diabetes, unlike Type 2 Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes cannot be treated with improved diet and increased exercise. “Type 1 Diabetes is hereditary and is not the result of lifestyle factors,” she said. She says about 95% of Diabetes in children is Type 1. The 2006 taskforce for the Government’s recently introduced Tackling Obesity initiative will include the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Hon Helen Coonan; the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Hon Julie Bishop MP; the Minister for Sport, Senator Hon Rod Kemp, as well as the Secretaries of these Departments. Hon Tony Abbott MP, the Minister for Health and Ageing, will Chair the taskforce. Community ambassadors from all walks of life, including high-profile athletes, will be engaged to promote healthier living, particularly among young people. Minister Abbott says the Government is aiming to support, motivate and educate Australians to lead healthier, more active lifestyles. Further information is available from the healthy weight web site www.healthyactive.gov.au/healthyweight

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