Queensland Obesity Prevention Strategy

Queensland’s response to the National Obesity Strategy 2022 - 2032

Health and Wellbeing Queensland (HWQld) is leading Queensland’s implementation response to the National Obesity Strategy 2022-2032 (NOS), released in March 2022.

We are developing the Making Healthy Happen Strategy (2023-2032) (working title) and a series of Action Plans.

The Strategy was previously known as the Queensland Obesity Prevention Strategy. The title, ‘Making Healthy Happen’, was chosen during extensive consultation for the Strategy in a bid to reduce the harmful stigma associated with terminology relating to the terms of ‘weight’ and ‘obesity’.

The Strategy will be delivered across a 10-year timeframe to bolster existing initiatives and deliver innovative approaches to create systems change. It will focus on driving change across 3 phases, each supported by an action plan:

  • Strengthen 2023-2026: will focus on establishing strong foundations for change
  • Innovate 2026-2029: will focus on bold innovation and transformational change
  • Accelerate 2029-2032: will centre on amplifying and scaling success to achieve sustainable changes.

The incidence and impact of overweight and obesity is significant.

In Queensland:

  • 2 in 3 adults and 1 in 4 children live with overweight and obesity 1 
  • Queensland children living in the most disadvantaged areas are over 2 times more likely to be obese than children in more advantaged areas 5 
  • Obesity costs the Queensland health system $756m per year 2


  • Obesity is costing $11.8b across the nation 4
  • Each Australian pays an additional $678 tax each year to cover the cost of obesity 6
  • Overweight and obesity rates are almost double in First Nations children 7
  • Obesity is also the second leading predictor, after age, for COVID-19 complications and mortality. 8

Conditions that affect health often sit outside of health. That’s why we’re addressing things such as the home environment and social and community factors.

Our vision is for a Queensland that encourages and enables a healthy weight for all

We’re delivering a Strategy and Action Plan tailored for Queensland plus ongoing monitoring and evaluation to demonstrate impact.

The Queensland Obesity Prevention Strategy will be a balanced portfolio of actions spanning the 3 ambitions of the NOS:

  1. Creating supportive, sustainable and healthy environments
  2. Empowering people to stay as healthy as they can
  3. Access to early intervention and supportive health care

It will:

  • Guide the Queensland Government, partners and community in collaborative and cross-sectoral action
  • Help change factors that promote unhealthy weight gain
  • Support people living with higher body weight
  • Be comprehensive and evidence-based
  • Reduce inequity by addressing broader socioeconomic determinants and environmental factors
  • Tackle weight stigma and discrimination
  • Amplify existing actions and initiatives
  • Connect people and create new approaches for the future.

How is the Strategy being developed?

Initial engagement

In July 2022, we engaged with almost 1,000 Queenslanders across the community, other sectors and government.

We listened to and spoke with:

  • Community members, including those from priority populations and with lived experiences
  • Health and community workforce across metropolitan, regional and rural Queensland
  • Other government departments, prevention partners and industry.

These consultations build on what Queenslanders said during the 2019 NOS consultations.

HWQld has created Insights from Engagement Round 1 which identifies the following key themes and priority actions:

  • Equity
  • Government leadership and collaboration
  • Local and community-led solutions
  • Capacity building and education.
Priority Actions
  • Access and consumption of healthy and sustainable food
  • Access to physical activity and healthy environments
  • Empowering people to stay healthy
  • Access to early intervention and care.

Second phase of engagement

Our second consultation was held from 24 October to 30 November 2022. We received online survey responses and held community discussion panels, webinars, and meetings with Queensland and national peak bodies across medical, health, government and community sector, not-for-profit and industry organisations.

The themes raised through the second round of consultation were consistent with the first, including equity, strategic alignment across government, and emphasising the importance of community-led solutions. Respondents also provided greater insight into the following themes:

  • Reducing weight stigma
  • Addressing the wider determinants of health
  • Driving legislation and policy change
  • Increasing access to supportive healthcare
  • Supporting advocacy on obesity issues
  • Focusing on accountability and transparency.
Third phase of engagement

In January 2023, Health and Wellbeing Queensland delivered a series of focus groups with regional Queenslanders, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, younger adults, and males. These focus groups further explored language considerations to decrease weight stigma and enhanced the approach taken in the Strategy to address obesity at a systems level.

What’s next

Together, these engagement opportunities delivered significant insights to further inform the development of the Strategy.

The team at Health and Wellbeing Queensland has now analysed consultation data and is using this to finalise the Strategy and Action Plan. Once completed, the Strategy and Action Plan will be provided to the Queensland Government for consideration.


Resources will be updated in coming months (2023), following official Government endorsement.

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1 Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Health Survey: State and territory findings. 2018. | 2 The Queensland Cabinet and Ministerial Directory (2022). Queensland leads the way in tackling nation’s obesity crisis. Media statement. | 3 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s health 2020: Overweight and obesity. 2020 | 4 The Queensland Ministerial Directory (2022). Queensland leads the way in tackling nation’s obesity crisis. Media statement 5 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s health 2020: Overweight and obesity. 2020 | 6 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The Heavy Burden of Obesity: The Economics of Prevention. OECD; 2019. 1p. | 7 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020) Overweight and obesity: an interactive insight. | 8 Li et al (2021) – The Impact of Obesity on SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic Mortality Risk and AbdelMassih et al (2020) – Obese communities among the best predictors of COVID-19-related deaths

Last updated 14 December 2023