Health and Ambulance Services Minister Steven Miles today introduced a bill into Parliament to establish a new health promotion agency – Health and Wellbeing Queensland (HWQ).
Minister Miles said Queensland had to keep driving change with new ways to address levels of obesity and chronic disease.
“The statistics are staggering – two thirds of adults and one quarter of children are overweight or obese in Queensland,” he said.
“Every single day I see how being overweight or obese impacts on people’s lives, whether that’s struggling to run around with their kids or struggling to fit in a bus seat.
“Obesity is one of the most pressing public health concerns, and we need to do more to drop the rates in Queensland.”
HWQ will be an independent statutory body, working in partnership with organisations across sectors to support Queenslanders with eating better, becoming more active, and creating healthier environments to live, work and play.
“We all have a role to play to make the right changes in our society that enables people to make healthier choices, to be more active, and to help people end unhealthy behaviours that are contributing to weight gain,” he said.
“It’s not just about people’s health and wellbeing anymore. Obesity is one of the leading causes of hospitalisations and disability in Queensland.
“This, combined with a growing and ageing population, is negatively impacting on the capacity of the health system and the productivity of the economy.
“This new health promotion agency will bring together industry and all levels of government to effectively action change.”
AMA Queensland President Dr Dilip Dhupelia welcomed the establishment of HWQ.
“This a bold step towards a better way to battle obesity and the chronic diseases that being overweight causes amongst Queenslanders,” Dr Dhupelia said.
“AMA Queensland is proud to support this whole-of-government approach that will not only address the health issues confronting thousands of Queensland but will boost healthy behaviours as well.
“With the AMA Queensland working alongside Queensland Health, the new statutory authority will be a powerful, innovative tool to provide Queenslanders with the education, resources and practical tools they need to prevent chronic illness and lead balanced, healthy lives.”
HWQ will facilitate investments and activities to help people become healthier, and develop new partnerships with sectors not traditionally associated with health or health care services.
“This could include sporting clubs, transport, parenting groups and local government,” the Minister said.
HWQ will also work with stakeholders and government departments to provide input into policy development and future strategies.
The new bill is expected to be debated in Parliament in May.