Government launches lifestyle choices campaign

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 15th March 2011

Swap It Don’t Stop It campaignThe Commonwealth Government today launched its ‘Swap it don’t stop it’ campaign – a call to make easy, small, healthier lifestyle choices to reduce the risk of illness and disease.

The ‘Swap it don’t stop it’ campaign features Eric, an animated blue balloon character, designed to be likeable but overweight. The campaign echoes the popular ‘Life: Be In It’ campaign of the 1980s, featuring Norm, a similarly likeable but overweight cartoon character.

On television, in print and on the radio, Eric will urge Australians to make some simple lifestyle changes to become healthier – for example, to swap big for small (portion control); swap often for sometimes (occasional treats); swap fried for fresh (nutritional quality); swap sitting for moving (physical activity); and swap watching for playing (physical activity).

“This campaign has a practical focus – following the awareness raised by the Measure Up Campaign – it encourages people to make practical choices in their everyday lives to improve their health,” said Health Minister Nicola Roxon.

“Losing weight doesn’t have to be hard – those little decisions made in the supermarket aisles, in the kitchen or when playing with the kids, can make a real difference,” she said. “Some practical examples that the campaign encourages include swapping the escalators for the stairs or swapping white bread for wholegrain.”

Roxon said that the Government was particularly concerned about preventable lifestyle diseases and their burden on the Australian family and the country’s economy.

“While the campaign urges all Australians to become ‘swappers,’ it is particularly directed at men and women aged 25-50 with children,” she said.

“The cost of obesity is not only a personal one but also a huge drain on the nation’s economy. In 2008 alone, obesity cost Australia a massive $58.2 billion. Obesity is the cause of almost one-quarter of type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis, around one-fifth of cardiovascular disease, and colorectal, breast, uterine and kidney cancer.”

“The Australian Government has made a record investment in stopping preventable diseases including establishing the first Australian National Preventive Health Agency. The Agency will lead the fight against preventable diseases through targeting obesity, along with alcohol, tobacco and other substance abuse,” said Roxon.

“‘Swap it don’t stop it’ is part of a concerted, comprehensive approach by this Government to provide unprecedented support to keep people healthy and out of hospital. This will improve the lives of Australians and reduce the pressure on our health and hospital system.”