The WA Preventive Health Summit was held in Perth on Friday 2 March 2018. It aimed to bring together key health promotion and public health stakeholders, and opinion leaders to explore ways of promoting healthier lifestyles, and reduce obesity and harm caused by alcohol in WA. The one-day summit discussed the importance of prevention, and encourage broader thinking and community engagement around what we can do to encourage healthy lifestyles to reduce and prevent obesity and harm caused by alcohol.
The Minister for Health invited ACHPER WA to attend the recent health summit addressing obesity and alcohol issues in Western Australia. However, this prestigious invite did not eventuate from advocacy actions taken by ACHPER during 2017 where we met with the Minister but via the prompting of an ACHPER member to demand inclusion. Our initial overlook hit home the message that ACHPER must respond swiftly to events in our community and although we endeavour to keep abreast of news and issues, we seek your continued support in bringing concerns and events to our attention
As the ACHPER representative, I was somewhat frustrated and disappointed that the direction of the summit was reactive health promotion and not the prioritising of education in schools as a key tool to embed health-enhancing behaviour. The reactive response to obesity and alcohol misuse seemed opposed to the preventive agenda of the summit’s title and as a result, I took the time to ask a pointed question. This question explored the perceived disconnect between the mandating of HPE in WA and what actually transpires, in and through some schools. Unfortunately, the panel members were unable to respond to the question and openly admitted that education was outside of their remit.
ACHPER will continue to champion HPE and are in the process of developing a position statement regarding quality HPE across all WA schools.