• Open Access

Obesity and climate change mitigation in Australia: overview and analysis of policies with co-benefits

Authors

  • Melanie Lowe

    Corresponding author
    1. McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Victoria
    • Correspondence to: Ms Melanie Lowe, McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, School of Population and Global Health, Level 5, 207 Bouverie St, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010; e-mail: mdlowe@unimelb.edu.au

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  • The authors have stated they have no conflict of interest.

Abstract

Objective: To provide an overview of the shared structural causes of obesity and climate change, and analyse policies that could be implemented in Australia to both equitably reduce obesity rates and contribute to mitigating climate change.

Methods: Informed by the political economy of health theoretical framework, a review was conducted of the literature on the shared causes of, and solutions to, obesity and climate change. Policies with potential co-benefits for climate change and obesity were then analysed based upon their feasibility and capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and equitably reduce obesity rates in Australia.

Results: Policies with potential co-benefits fit within three broad categories: those to replace car use with low-emissions, active modes of transport; those to improve diets and reduce emissions from the food system; and macro-level economic policies to reduce the over-consumption of food and fossil fuel energy.

Conclusion: Given the complex causes of both problems, it is argued that a full spectrum of complementary strategies across different sectors should be utilised.

Implications: Such an approach would have significant public health, social and environmental benefits.

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