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Fitness Leaders Call for Government Financial Incentives for Weight Loss
In the wake of the Federal Labor Party announcing a financial incentive for people to trade in their old cars for more fuel efficient cars, weight loss industry leaders, Jamie Hayes and Matt O'Neill, have called for the next Federal Government to incentivise a healthier Australia.
Over recent years, Hayes' Healthy Inspirations centres have helped over 8,000 women lose over 100,000 kilos, while O'Neill's online MetabolicJumpstart.com program has delivered dietician-designed diets for 6,000 people.
With obesity having overtaken smoking as Australia's greatest preventable health risk factor, the pair believe that the election provides a unique opportunity for a paradigm shift in how the Government addresses this fundamental health issue.
As Hayes explains, "last week Prime Minister Gillard launched a $2,000 old car rebate scheme to provide a financial incentive for people to trade in their old cars (for) more fuel efficient cars, pledging to do this for 200,000 vehicles at a cost of $394 million.
"A similar financial incentive should be given to overweight and obese Australians who reduce and maintain their BMI (Body Mass Index) a set number of points or reduce their waist circumference."
Referring to the Rudd Government's "extensive and expensive" 'Measure Up' campaign during which they pair claim Australia's obesity rate increased, Hayes highlights "the 'Measure Up' campaign has increased awareness but does not go far enough to motivate obese Australians to improve their health.
"(Therefore) it is time to add a more incentivised approach involving the fitness and weight loss industry as well as the medical profession."
Hayes and O'Neill's proposal covers, pre-screening by medical professionals, target setting, how incentive payments could be staggered and paid on results, regardless of the weight loss program or method the individual chooses.
O'Neill explains, "with an incentive program such as this the individual is free to choose how they lose weight.
"If successful, this scheme would have flow on benefits: decreasing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and all obesity affected diseases plus reduce demand for hospital beds. It would also decrease absenteeism and increase productivity in the workplace. Most importantly, healthy weight active parents are an important step to reducing childhood obesity."
Hayes adds "unlike other incentivising programs based on actions that cost whether they work or not, this proposed weight loss incentive program is solely based on results. No results equals no cost.
"The proposed approach would also provide an economic stimulus to the fitness and weight loss industries that are virtually ignored by Governments.
"There are approximately 1,200 Fitness Australia registered fitness centres and many more weight loss businesses. If the average fitness centre has 900 members, thatâs over a million people taking action to achieve a healthy weight."
For further information and updates join the Face Group 'Aussie Weight Loss Incentives' at www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=101193939936924
Image: Jamie Hayes.
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7th August 2009 - FITNESS AUSTRALIA LOBBIES ALP ON INDUSTRY ISSUES
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