By Derek Schlennstedt
According to the Australian Health Tracker over 25 percent of people in the Yarra Ranges are obese.
The statistics were released ahead of World Obesity Day on 11 October.
Yarra Ranges is below the national average of 36 percent, and obesity in youth in the Yarra Ranges was just over 6 percent.
Professor Rosemary Calder from health policy think tank, the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University said action was needed to focus prevention strategies in the most disadvantaged communities.
She said that the rate of obesity varies dramatically across the country and highlights the impact of where people live and wealth on people’s health.
“We have spent too long as a nation expecting individuals to be able to change their behaviour to reduce their weight,” Professor Calder said.
“However, the evidence is very clear that this has little chance of success without a very strong focus on the environmental factors in the places where we live that contribute to poor nutrition and inactivity.”
Professor Calder said policy change was needed at every level government.
“The establishment of a national preventive health taskforce by the federal minister for health is an essential first step in the right direction.
“It is vitally important that governments at all levels focus on collectively addressing the impact of where we live on our health.”
She said places with the highest rates of obesity also have much higher rates of smoking, inactivity and chronic illness.