Jamie Oliver visits Australia in the fight against “Childhood Obesity”

Jamie Oliver fights Australian obesity

Jamie Oliver fights Australian obesity

The Shocking Facts

Childhood obesity is big news and unfortunately, like the waistbands of our nation’s children and teenagers, it’s set to get even bigger.

Obesity in children in Australia is increasing at an alarming rate.

Just like child obesity in America and child obesity worldwide, child obesity in Australia has increased greatly in the past few years.

Some statistics about child obesity in Australia

According to the Australian government:

An estimated 1.5 million people under the age 18 are considered overweight or obese.

This means about 20-25% of Australian children are overweight or obese.

The proportion of overweight or obese children in Australian is increasing at an accelerating rate. This pattern, showing up since the 1980’s, is similar internationally.

Children are getting less aerobic exercise.

The amount of aerobic fitness is decreasing about .4% a year.

Between 1985 and 1997 obesity levels in the population doubled.

While obesity increased 2-4 times, being overweight increased 60-70%. This shows signs not just of increasing, but accelerating.

If weight gain continues the path it is following, by the year 2020, 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese.

A study in Queensland showed that up to 30% of Australian children have low fitness levels while 60% have poor motor skills.

There is an indication that walking and cycling are used less for transportation for Australian children. Studies also seem to show that those among the least fit of Australian children are the group deteriorating the fastest over time.

In Australian schools, physical education is being reduced even with no dispute about how important physical education is.

50% of obese adolescents continue to be obese as adults.

Studies show that relative body weight is most often carried from childhood to adulthood. Once a child or adolescent is obese or overweight, they are not likely to reduce it as an adult.

Obesity in a child or adult is defined as a condition where excess fat has accumulated to the point that it can impair health.

A primary cause of obesity is an energy imbalance.

An intake of high energy foods, combined with a low level of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle is a cause of this energy imbalance.

One study estimates that for every 1% increase in the proportion of physically active people, nearly 122 lives can be saved that would have been lost to coronary heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. All of these diseases have links to obesity.

It is estimated that in 1995-1996 the cost of obesity in Australia was between $680-$1239 million.

Obesity as a child is linked to an increase in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in an adult regardless of the adult weight. Being overweight as a child brings and an increase for heart related diseases like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

Child obesity is also related to many medical conditions like respiratory disorders, orthopedic problems, release of growth hormone, arthritis, and gastric problems.

A study estimated that less than 70% of girls that were year 8 and year 10 students remained adequately active over winter in 1997.

Basically, what you can see from statistics like these is that being overweight or obesity in a child is increasing.

A primary cause can be an increasing lack of exercise compared to an intake of high energy foods. It must also be noted that once a child is obese or overweight,  it can be difficult to lose that weight during a lifetime. Obesity in a child may also lead to an increase in obesity related diseases.

Also in the report on child obesity in Australia, were statistics showing that there in an increase in homes with both parents at work. Also noted was an increase between 1986 and 1999 where a sole parent was working.

A lot must be done to reverse child obesity in Australia and child obesity worldwide.

An emphasis must be made on the need for exercise and eating the right foods. Also, we need to understand not just how a child becomes obese, but the why they become obese may be just as important. If nothing is done, the possible 2020 statistic of 80% obese or overweight Australian adults may become true from today’s child obesity in Australia.

 Jamie Oliver fights Australian obesity

Jamie is on a mission to ensure that people all over the world know how to cook. Through his school dinners campaign launched in 2006, he learned that it wasn’t enough to just change how kids ate at school, if parents didn’t support with wholesome food at home. So he followed up with a Ministry of Food campaign in 2009 which featured centres where individuals and families could learn to cook for free. The Ministry of Food centres have been a great success, with classes booked up months ahead of time, and has been followed by equally popular centres in Leeds and Bradford in 2010 (and more to come!)

Jamie is looking beyond the United Kingdom, and he has teamed up with The Good Guys (a major consumer electronics and whitegoods retailer) who are committing AUS$5million to build, equip and run community based Jamie’s Ministry of Food centres, both permanent and mobile, around Australia.

Australia is now one of the most obese countries in the world. Changes in family life, the rise of convenience foods, and a lack of compulsory food education in schools has resulted in huge numbers of people losing touch with one of life’s most essential skills: cooking. Jamie passionately believes that the most effective way to combat this lack of knowledge is to tackle it head on, with good information and practical cookery lessons for everyone.

“When you know how to cook, you’ve got control over your life and your health. Cooking is one of the most important things we can ever learn in life and with the right sort of information and teaching, absolutely anybody can cook. It’s wonderful, it’s fun, and most importantly, it changes lives,” says Jamie.

In Australia, shocking figures provided by the National Preventative Health Taskforce show that being overweight or obese affects over 60% of Australian adults and 25% of Australian children. The total financial cost in Australia of obesity alone, not including overweight people, was estimated at $8.3 billion in 2008. The most recent projections indicate that there will be an extra 6.7 million obese Australians by 2025. This frightening statistic clearly demonstrates an urgent need for action!

In an effort to tackle this Australian health issue, The Good Guys have committed significant funding and resources to set up and develop Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia. The Good Guys has announced the establishment of a new independent not-for-profit organisation called The Good Foundation, of which Jamie’s Ministry of Food will be a priority project.

Andrew Muir, chairman of The Good Guys says, “The growing list of health concerns related to poor eating habits affects all Australians for which we all need to take responsibility. We believe this initiative has the potential to improve the health and social welfare of communities right across Australia. The Good Foundation is putting up its hand.”

Jamie’s food revolution will empower people, through giving them the skills to change their eating and cooking behaviour, to make both short and long terms changes to their lives. Based on the success of Jamie’s Ministry of Food initiative in the UK, Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia is all about encouraging people to go back into the kitchen and cook again.

Jamie says, “I’m delighted that The Good Guys will be helping to make Ministry of Food a success in Australia.”

About the Author: Monisha Saldanha works on Jamie Oliver’s web team. “It’s the best job ever, combining my love of food and the internet. Couldn’t ask for more!” she says.

Visit http://www.jamieoliver.com/jamies-ministry-of-food/ for more information about the “Ministry of Food” program with lots of useful information and recipes.

Sizzling Beef with Spring Onions & Black Bean Sauce

sizzling beef with spring onions and black bean sauce
© David Loftus
servings 2


This works best with rice that has been made earlier, cooled, and then chilled in the fridge. But if you can’t prepare rice for this dish in advance, cook it then spread it out on a tray in a thin layer so that it cools down quickly while you’re cooking the rest of the dish.


sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
130g long-grain or basmati rice
1 x 200g sirloin or rump steak
1 red pepper
a handful of baby corn
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic
½ a fresh red chilli
2 spring onions
a small bunch of fresh coriander
a handful of mange tout
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon groundnut oil
2 tablespoons of good-quality black bean sauce 1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 limes
1 large egg, preferably free-range or organic
Equipment list
Chopping board
2 bowls
Wooden spoon
Tin foil
Kitchen paper

To prepare your stir-fry:
1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the rice and cook according to the packet instructions. Drain the rice in a sieve, run it under a cold tap to cool, and then allow to dry out in the fridge.
2. Trim any excess fat from your steak and slice the meat into finger-sized strips. Halve and deseed your pepper and cut it into thin strips. Trim and halve your baby corn lengthways. Peel and finely slice the ginger and garlic. Finely slice the chilli. Cut the ends off your spring onions and finely slice. Pick the coriander leaves and put to one side, and finely chop the coriander stalks.
3. Get yourself a big bowl and put in the red pepper, baby corn, mange tout, ginger, garlic, chilli, spring onions, coriander stalks and steak strips. Add the sesame oil and mix everything together.

To cook your stir-fry:
4. Preheat a wok or large frying pan on a high heat and once it’s very, very hot add half of the groundnut oil and swirl it around. Add all your chopped ingredients from the bowl. Give the pan a really good shake to mix everything around quickly. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, taking care to keep everything moving so it doesn’t burn. Add the black bean sauce, and stir in half the soy sauce and the juice of half a lime. Keep tossing. Taste and season with black pepper.
5. Remove the pan from the heat, transfer everything to a bowl and cover with tin foil.
6. Give the pan a quick wipe with a ball of kitchen paper and put back on the heat. Add the rest of the groundnut oil and swirl it around. Crack in your egg and the remaining soy sauce – the egg will cook very quickly so keep stirring. Once it’s scrambled, stir in your chilled rice, scraping the sides and the bottom of the pan as you go. Keep mixing for a few minutes until the rice is steaming hot, then taste and season with a small splash of soy sauce, if needed.

To serve your stir-fry:
7. Divide the rice between two bowls or plates. Spoon over the meat and black bean sauce and sprinkle over the coriander leaves. Serve with wedges of lime – great!

Adapted from Jamie’s Ministry of Food


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2 Responses to “Jamie Oliver visits Australia in the fight against “Childhood Obesity””

  1. Glennis20 Says:

    Hey Guys – I thought you might like to check out this site. She’s got vegan/raw recipes – very informative healthy eating site:

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