IT'S easy to become lost in the statistics about Australia and obesity.
Two out of three Australians are overweight or obese.
The number of obese Australians has jumped from 2.7 million in 2007-08 to 5.8 million today. In the past three years alone another one million people have shifted from being overweight to obese. During that same period there's been a 60 per cent increase in the number of obese teenagers aged 15-17.
In 2017-18 obesity in Australia led to $5.4 billion in direct health costs and $6.4 billion in indirect costs.
We have a serious problem and it's growing more serious by the day, in other words.
But the most alarming consequence of our national weight problem is the flow-on effects for our children.
As the past two decades of dramatic weight gain have occurred, too many Australians have been blind to the weight problems of their children.
The message from specialists could not be more clear.
Children are dying because of their excessive weight and the stress it places on their young bodies.
It is a shocking thing to imagine a toddler of just 15 months requiring weight management, but it is heartbreaking to think of a child or teenager dying because of heart, kidney or breathing complications linked to obesity.
The answers seem straightforward - we all should eat more vegetables, get more exercise, cut back on sugary drinks, sleep more and spend less time in front of screens.
But time, budgets and proximity to resources, and the availability and cheapness of less healthy options, can be significant factors in the way of improving our weight and our overall health.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners this year said it was time to call Australia's weight problem an obesity epidemic because of the speed with which the problem is growing.
Governments have been blamed for failing to enact simple measures to reduce the problem, like a tax on sugary drinks. They have also been blamed for over-emphasising individual choice over systemic problems.
What we do know is that the amount of government resources put into responding to the obesity crisis is not enough.
And it's clear our children are paying the price.