Residents pile on the fat

The WA Education Department requires that children take part in two hours of physical activity at schools each week, as well as healthy eating guidelines in school canteens.
The WA Education Department requires that children take part in two hours of physical activity at schools each week, as well as healthy eating guidelines in school canteens.

Research conducted by Adelaide University’s Public Health Information Development Unit found more than one in five people who live there to be obese.

The high obesity rate of 22.3 per 100 people was also reached in Carnarvon.

Northam recreation services manager Colin Hassel described the figure as ‘very scary’. He said obesity was a growing concern in Northam, especially with youth.

‘But we are working hard here to curtail that,’ he said.

Mr Hassel said the centre ran an exercise program for young people with weight issues.

‘Our focus is to encourage people to take up sport,’ he said.

Mr Hassel said education could play a key role in reducing Northam’s obesity rate.

‘We need to educate young people from age four about the risks associated with obesity and we need more opportunity for exercise and healthy eating,’ he said.

Northam Primary School principle Ken Bennett said he was not surprised by the study’s findings.

Mr Bennett takes a pro-active approach to the health and wellbeing of children who attend the school by encouraging exercise and not allowing ‘junk food’.

‘The Education Department has a requirement for two hours per week for physical activity,’ he said.

‘We would exceed that most weeks.

‘This school has not sold junk food since I have worked here’