Evidence brief: food, built environments and obesity

Unhealthy diets, overweight, and obesity are the leading risk factors for death, disease and disability in Western Australia (WA), after tobacco use. Most WA adults (71 per cent) are overweight or obese and one in four WA children are overweight or obese. If current trends continue, hospitalisation costs linked to overweight and obesity in WA are set to rise by 80 per cent, to $610 million by 2026.

Overweight and obesity are closely linked to the environments in which people are born, live, work, learn, play, and age. Today’s environment has been referred to as obesity-promoting or ‘obesogenic’ as it encourages people to consume more energy than their bodies need and to be less physically active, which are drivers of obesity and diet-related disease.

Evidence brief: food, built environments and obesity (PDF 2MB) summarises local data collected in WA regarding the location, proximity and density of healthy and unhealthy food retail outlets, the impact this has on dietary intake, overweight and obesity, and policy options to address these issues.