Encouraging healthier eating is just one way to combat obesity.
Encouraging healthier eating is just one way to combat obesity. Tony Martin

10 ways we could all help fat people lose weight

THERE'S no getting around it, we are a nation of fatties - and Queenslanders are among the fattest.

Each year, we are getting bigger, rounder - and lot unhealthier.

And our public hospitals are being over-run with people with clogged arteries and diseases directly related to their weight.

But rather than forking out millions on new ad campaigns promoting a healthier lifestyle, we reckon there needs to be a radically different approach to obesity.

Here are 10 suggestions to helping fatties

1. Make sports programs at school - and participation in at one sport outside of school compulsory - and help parents pay for it.

2. Put extra taxes on bad foods - and reduce the costs of good one. Ie. Chips and coke become a whole lot dearer and fruit and vegetables cheaper.

3. Set up community classes to teach parents how to make healthy foods again. Many don't have a clue.

4. Limit the proliferation of fast food outlets - and their advertising - particularly during after school hours.

5. Subsidise fitness programs and gym club members. The savings in reduced public hospital bills would more than pay for the investment.

6. After 10 years of the program, force people who refuse to improve their health to pay their own hospital bills for obesity-related problems.

7. Stamp out crazy diet and weight loss people who promise to cut 10kg in 10 days and the like. Anyone who has been on a rapid weight loss program knows how rapidly the weight comes back on.

8. Stop demonising fat people. Increasing research shows people have different metabolic rates and different reasons (including medical) for weight retention.

9. Encourage events that get people out more - great walks, swims, runs, community sports days, volleyball on the beach.

10. Appoint healthy ambassadors - real people who have been through the journey - in each region to create excitement about becoming a healthier community.

As Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg points out, the Sunshine State now has the highest rate of adult obesity in the country with 30.4% of the population.

Obesity has now taken over smoking as the leading cause of preventable deaths.

Those overweight can look forward to cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancers, sleep apnoea and musculoskeletal problems, just to name a few.

It is a problem that we all need to tackle.