PHAIWA has obesity as a key priority advocacy area. The advocacy targets listed below are seen as components of a comprehensive approach, and are not set out in priority order.

    Advocacy Targets

    1. Programs and policies across all levels of government to ensure that all people have access to an adequate and sustainable supply of affordable, healthy, nutritious food.

    2. Phase out advertising and promotion of unhealthy* foods and beverages, underpinned by legislated controls.

    3. Clear, accessible information on the nutritional content of all food products; front of pack “traffic lights” labelling.

    4. Regulations and planning codes that require provision of a built environment that supports accessible daily recreational physical activity, sport and active transport (e.g. walking and cycling).
    5. Reorientation of transport and planning priorities to enable expansion of an affordable and accessible public transport network.

    6. Rules, policies programs and infrastructure in schools and workplaces that support regular physical activity and healthy eating.

    7. Sustained adequately funded public education programs on physical activity and healthy eating.

    8. Programs, policies and infrastructure to inform and support parents and carers to maximise health, physical activity and good nutrition in the early years.

    9. Policies and structures in all relevant agencies at all levels of government that prioritise the reduction of overweight and obesity.

    10. Tax incentives and subsidies that encourage physical activity and healthy eating and policy and financial disincentives that discourage inactivity and unhealthy eating.

    11. Specific and culturally appropriate programs to meet the needs of disadvantaged and at risk communities.

    12. Adequately funded and sustained population monitoring, research and evaluation.

    *Unhealthy foods are those high in kilojoules but lacking in vitamins, minerals, fibre and other nutrients required for a healthy diet. These can also be described as High in Fat, Sugar and Salt (HFSS) or Energy Dense Nutrient Poor (EDNP).

    These 12 recommendations were made as a result of a forum and workshop in 2008 and 2009, please read more about the process of creating the advocacy targets for overweight and obesity.

    PHAIWA Projects and Resources

    Soft Drink Consumption in Aboriginal Communities

    High consumption of soft drinks and other sugary drinks are associated with a number of health problems, including overweight and obesity, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and dental caries. In Australia, soft drinks are the most commonly consumed sugary beverage and have been singled out for specific attention as a target of obesity prevention programs. The evidence linking soft drinks consumption to overweight and obesity is now strong.

    Nearly two years ago, Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin ordered two departments to give urgent advice about how to encourage people in the remote areas to consume less soft drink. One of the policy responses has been to install water bubblers in Indigenous communities.

    PHAIWA together with Diabetes WA is embarking on a project to investigate the extent of the soft drink consumption problems amongst Indigenous peoples and identify additional policy solutions.

    Who owns who in the Australian food Australian food market?

    Read Dr Melissa Stoneham and Ainslie Sartori’s latest blog on Croakey on the recently released food map by PHAIWA here.

    PHAIWA on Today Tonight on Surviving ‘Pester Power’

    PHAIWA’S Dr Mel Stoneham recently spoke to Channel 7’s Today Tonight with tips for parents on how to survive ‘pester power’ in supermarkets.

    See the clip here.

    What’s cheaper?

    We have done the maths and worked out the cost of a McDonald’s meal for a family of 6 compared to the price of a home cooked meal. See the results for yourself in the link below.


    The Obesity Policy Coalition – Tipping The Scales Infographic 

    The Obesity Coalition has launched a new campaign called Tipping the Scales to address Australia’s serious obesity problem. To find out more visit Obesity Policy Coalition.

    Live Lighter

    PHAIWA supports the Live Lighter campaign, which aims to:

    ▲Increase awareness of the link between being overweight and chronic disease, while promoting healthy eating and regular physical activity.

    ▲Increase understanding of the risks associated with poor lifestyle choices.

    ▲Support the trial, adoption and maintenance of healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weight.

    ▲Encourage public debate about obesity and the need for changes in the community to support healthy eating and physical activity. We need to make sure the healthy choice is also the easy choice.

     In April 2016 the most recent campaign focusing on junk food was launched. This campaign urges people to rethink junk food in a graphic new advertising campaign that adds fatty liver disease to the menu of serious health risks.


    You can calculate how much junk food you eat and view the TV advertisements at the LiveLighter website. This is an example of some of the resources available.

    Of interest, one of the strategies in this campaign was advertising at service stations – which was very quickly knocked on the head by Val Morgan, who manages this space. After some advocacy from the Heart Foundation, this decision has been reversed. Read about it here.

    Visit the LiveLighter website for facts, tips, recipes and resources at

    Australian Health Star Rating (HSR) Front-of-Pack Labelling System

    The Australian Health Star Rating (HSR) front-of-pack labelling system is now running across the country. The Health Star Rating system was developed by the Australian, state and territory governments in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups.  The labelling scheme aims to help shoppers easily compare similar packaged foods to help them make healthier choices based on the number of stars and the other descriptors below.

    health star rating

    The Health Star Rating system has been operational since June 2014. Adoption of the system is voluntary for the next five years, and progress will be reviewed after two years. A new campaign promoting the Health Star Rating is being run June-August 2015.

    Key Messages

    What do the stars mean?

    · Health Star Ratings provide an easy, standard way for consumers to compare the nutritional profile of similar packaged foods, at-a-glance.

    · The Health Star Rating graphic can be displayed on the front of packaged food products.

    · The Health Star Rating system provides at-a-glance nutritional information to help consumers make informed and healthier food choices that can lead to better health.

    How to use the Health Star Rating system?

    Stars are calculated by assessing the amount of energy, saturated fat, sugars, sodium, fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content as well as dietary fibre and protein.

    A high Health Star Rating does not necessarily mean that the food provides all of the essential nutrients that are required for a balanced and healthy diet.

    To help maintain a healthy lifestyle, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from the five food groups every day and to limit foods that are high in saturated fat, added sodium and sugars.

    Useful information and resources about the Health Star Rating system is available on the Health Star website.

    Please click here to read a report from Victoria Health which looks at the life transition period between childhood and adolescence, and the critical windows of opportunity to influence healthy behaviour.

    Guide to Food Labelling

    Food labels carry information that will help you to make good food choices. Visit this page provided by Vic Health to make it easier for you to understand food labels.



    Food and Health Ministers to Implement Star Ratings on Foods

    PHAIWA welcomes the decision by Food and Health Ministers to implement a star rating scheme that will enable consumers to make healthier choices at-a-glance.

    The Federal government is set to introduce a star system for food packages to help consumers make healthier food choices. Much like the energy star rating system on white goods, the proposed star system for food labels will see healthier choices carrying more stars than less healthy choices.
    The star ratings give an overall indication of a food’s nutritional quality and will appear on the front of food packages. There will be additional information about the key nutrients that consumers want to know about and are associated with diet-related disease: sugars, saturated fat, sodium and kilojoules.

    The introduction of an easy-to-understand food labelling system was a key recommendation of the 2011 Blewett review of food labelling. Recently, public health experts, consumer groups, representatives from the food and retail industries, and state and territory governments have participated in a Commonwealth-led process aimed at developing a front-of-pack food labelling system that could be applied nationwide.
    At the Food and Health Ministers meeting on Friday 27 June 2014, the Ministers imposed a timeframe on the implementation of the labelling scheme which, in the first instance, will be voluntary. This puts the onus on industry to embrace the Health Star Rating or face a mandatory approach. The Ministers also voted to reinstate the star rating website.

    You can read the communique from the Ministers meeting here.

    Here is an example of the star rating.

    food labelling example

    Preventing Obesity … What works? A Review of Research Evidence

    CEIPS has conducted a review of systematic reviews examining the effectiveness of interventions targeting physical activity, healthy eating, sedentary behaviour and obesity.  Please view it here.


    Livelighter Urges People to Stop Drinking Themselves Fat

    On July 19 LiveLighter unveiled their new anti-obesity campaign targeting sugary drinks.  There was an event held on Friday at the Boulevard Centre in Floreat to celebrate the launch, which happened a day prior to a LiveLighter wrap-around spread being placed in Saturday’s edition of The West Australian and the broadcast of a primetime LiveLighter television commercial. The campaign hopes to raise public awareness of the large role sugar sweetened drinks have in contributing to obesity and to ultimately reduce consumption of beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks.

    LiveLighter’s media statement is available here.

    An info graphic comparing the amount of sugar in different drinks and foods can be read here.

    WA Health Article

    Who is overweight and obese in Western Australia?

    Advertising as a cue to consume: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of acute exposure to unhealthy food and nonalcoholic beverage advertising on intake in children and adults

    The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Infographic can be accessed here.

    Obesity Resources

    Obesity Policy Coalition

    Food Standards Australia New Zealand

    Live Lighter

    Obesity Australia

    The Heart Foundation

    The Health Star Rating System