July–Oct 2015 Last updated: 15 Mar, 2016

Victoria’s Citizens’ Jury on Obesity has put forward 20 actions to promote healthier eating and tackle rising rates of obesity. 

Highlights of Victoria's Citizens' Jury on Obesity

In 2015, VicHealth, with the support of newDemocracy Foundation, convened Victoria’s Citizens’ Jury on Obesity. Our aim was to establish community consensus for government, industry and community action on obesity.

Given how complex the issue of obesity is, the Jury was asked to specifically focus on food and the way we eat, recognising the large role food plays in society, and the range of direct and indirect influences few of us are aware of when it comes to food choices such as social setting, colour and context. The jury were invited to respond to:

"We have an obesity problem. How can we make it easier to eat better?"



The Jury’s Asks

After six weeks exploring evidence and questioning experts, 78 everyday Victorians came together on 17 - 18 October 2015 to determine actions they felt were necessary to make it easier to eat better.


Their ‘asks’ include a government-mandated health star labelling program, a ban on junk food and beverage marketing to children under 16 years, a 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, and fast-food exclusion zones around schools, sporting clubs, youth and community centres.

Group of people at Citizens' Jury

Download: The Jury's Report (PDF, 597 KB)


The Steering Group’s Response

A Steering Group comprising key government, industry, public health and community decision-makers was also convened by VicHealth to respond to the Jury’s Asks. The group included representatives from:

AMA Victoria, Australian Beverages Council, Australian Food & Grocery Council, CHOICE, City of Melbourne, Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research at Deakin University, Coles, Foodbank Victoria, Obesity Policy Coalition, Tennis Australia, and the Victorian Government Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The Steering Group responded to the Jury’s Asks on 4th December 2015.

Download: The Steering Group's response (PDF, 918 KB)



Tracking Progress

Governments around the world are exploring innovative models to develop better, and more enduring, public policy. Approaches which promote greater democratic participation, such as citizens’ juries, are showing promise1  as an effective and collaborative approach to finding impactful, long term solutions.

Victoria’s Citizens’ Jury on Obesity has delivered 20 clear actions to promote healthier eating and tackle rising rates of obesity. The Jury’s Asks provide governments, industry and public health advocates with a blueprint for action, determined by citizens and based on expert evidence.

Ultimately, long term sustained impact related to healthy eating behaviour can only be achieved through a systemic response. This would require coordinated action from numerous stakeholders, government and industry groups.

Over the coming year, we will monitor the actions of government, stakeholders and industry. We will also actively work with policy makers, public health & consumer advocates, and industry to promote the Jury’s Asks. 

Victoria's Citizens' Jury on Obesity is an initiative of VicHealth with support by newDemocracy Foundation, Australia’s leading research organisation specialising in democratic innovation.


1
 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24657639 ;
http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iap2.org/resource/resmgr/imported/Journal_Issue1_Irving.pdf ;
http://heapro.oxfordjournals.org/content/13/4/273.full.pdf