More support for government health efforts

A majority of Australians now believe governments have a bigger role to play in preventing people from developing chronic illnesses, research has found.

Australians want governments to play a bigger role in preventing people from developing chronic illnesses, according to new research.

More than 60 per cent of Australians believe governments should have a major hand in maintaining people's health, according to the survey of 2600 people.

This compares with 46 per cent of people supporting such action when the same survey was conducted in 2016.

Lead researcher Dr Anne Grunseit at the University of Sydney says the result of the 2018 survey shows governments shouldn't worry about accusations of running a "nanny state" when it steps in to improve people's health.

"These findings confirm the public wants stronger government intervention," she said.

"A majority of Australians have given governments a licence to be bolder in taking action to prevent people from developing chronic diseases."

The vast majority (90 per cent) of people surveyed did agree that maintaining the community's health requires personal responsibility, along with government regulation.

More than half of all Australians have a chronic disease such as arthritis, cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease or diabetes.

The research findings were released as dozens of public health experts met at a forum in Melbourne on Tuesday focused on the marketing of junk food, alcohol and gambling to children.

In a communique from the Public Health Association of Australia event, the experts argue the "aggressive marketing" of such products is undermining children's rights and fuelling some of the biggest health and social burdens.

The government should develop a comprehensive system for regulating such advertising, they believe.

The experts have described the current regulatory process - a combination of legislation, voluntary codes of practice and industry-run schemes - as "grossly inadequate".

"The exposure of children to the marketing of alcohol, gambling and junk food is a collective problem that has reached a critical juncture," they say.

Published 11 June 2019 at 5:50pm
Source: AAP