There is a strong imperative for government interventions to reduce obesity rates.1-3 While education campaigns form a critical part of a comprehensive obesity prevention strategy, regulatory approaches to create supportive environments for obesity prevention are likely to bring about larger, more equitable population health improvements.4 However, implementing regulatory approaches requires political support, which is often lacking.4-6 As public support has the potential to influence political decision-making, this study explored trends in support for government policies in WA using data from evaluation surveys of a healthy lifestyle campaign conducted between 2012 and 2019.
The LiveLighter® education campaign encourages and supports WA adults and their families to make healthier dietary choices, be more active, achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Independent evaluations of each campaign wave were conducted between 2012-2019 using cross-sectional surveys of adults aged 25-49 years, including questions on support for nutrition policies. The sample (N=10,280) was selected using random digit dialling (RDD) for all surveys except 2019 (50% RDD and 50% list sample) and surveyed using computer-assisted telephone interviews.
Overall, all nutrition policies were supported by a majority (62.3%-95.4%). Support was particularly high among women, people in a healthy weight range, and those who had completed high school. Support for regulation was high compared to other studies.7 In 2019, approximately 65.1% of WA adults supported introducing a sugar-sweetened beverages tax, markedly higher than reported in a recent international review.7 Between 2012 and 2016, support increased significantly for ‘changing regulations to ensure consistent food labelling to help consumers make healthy choices’ (90.7% cf. 95.4%).
Campaigns and advocacy efforts from the LiveLighter® campaign may have contributed to higher support and increases in support for stronger nutrition policies in WA since 2012. These findings suggest there is substantial public support for regulatory action on obesity prevention in the WA community.