Listen to community as $20 million is targeted at obesity, chronic disease

A new statewide Healthy Futures Commission Queensland - to help children and families address the major issues of obesity and chronic disease - has been announced by the State Government.

It is vital that the Government ensures the grassroots voice of our communities is listened to as it moves to put $20 million of funding into the initiative.

The background:

On Sunday 21 May, State Health Minister Cameron Dick announced that the Healthy Futures Commission Queensland (HFCQ) would be set up to address two key outcomes from the Queensland Health Advancing Health 2026 plan:

  • Reduce childhood obesity by 10 per cent.

  • Increase levels of physical activity for health benefit by 20 per cent.

IWC welcomes any initiative by Government that supports an area of work that our organisation, which is driven by grassroots needs, knows is absolutely vital. IWC is non-government, community-controlled and charitable, offering health, wellbeing, family and community services across Bundaberg and the Wide Bay / Burnett. We have more than 12,500 clients, and more than 85 per of our patients have one or more chronic diseases and complex conditions, including diabetes.

IWC would welcome the opportunity to discuss with the Commission the best options for achieving real outcomes through the $20 million being put into the initiative.

According to the State Government’s own statistics, obesity rates are 76 per cent higher in socio-economically disadvantaged areas of Queensland compared to advantaged areas, and according to the Federal Government’s social index 82.6 per cent of our region’s population sits in the SEIFA Quintiles of "disadvantaged" or "very disadvantaged"

.

The State Government also says that, compared to major cities, obesity rates are 36 per cent higher in remote and very remote areas of Queensland. IWC works across remote and rural areas, providing a range of health and medical services that directly address the issues of chronic disease and associated conditions.

In addition, the State Government says obesity rates are 39 per cent higher among Indigenous Queenslanders than non-Indigenous. IWC services and programs are accessed by more than 90 per cent of the Indigenous Australians in our region, and we understand the complexities of achieving the outcomes we all want and need to break the cycle of disadvantage in our communities.

IWC has for many years been working, much of it through its own initiative, to tackle the issues to be addressed by the new commission and would welcome an opportunity to provide valuable input.

We are proactive in delivering both treatment and early intervention services and initiatives. These include Diabetes Education, specialist Endocrinology services, and dietitics.

IWC offers services to address issues of chronic disease and complex conditions right into the most rural and remote areas of our communities, and it does so as a non-government, community-controlled organisation that walks alongside its community members.

IWC is not only a proactive and highly successful service provider in this arena, but undertakes ongoing research and data collation around the core outcomes being achieved.

Making the announcement, Mr Dick said the Palaszczuk Government would introduce legislation to establish and operate the Commission.

He said the Commission would be funded to the tune of $20 million over three years to provide grants and partner with local business, community organisations, academic institutions and government agencies to encourage and support regular physical activity and healthy eating.

“At least 55 per cent of that funding will be provided in grants to enable the Commission to focus on targeted interventions and projects to enable children and families to make healthy choices,” Mr Dick said.

That money needs to work for our communities.

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