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The challenge

An overweight Australia

Obesity is a significant contributor to the impact of chronic disease in Australia. Approximately 63 per cent of the Australian population is overweight or obese. Recent estimates for Australia suggest that poor diet costs Australia around $5 billion each year ($6.2 billion in today’s terms)1, with around two thirds due to direct health-care costs. Other studies including overweight and obesity (for which poor nutrition can be a causal factor) find that this costs an additional $11.6 billion per year2 or $12.5 billion in today's terms.

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online allows you to better personalise the program to suit your tastes and lifestyle. ©  SP Health Co Pty Ltd

Our response

A scientific diet

The Total Wellbeing Diet (TWD) Online was launched in 2015 by CSIRO and SP Health. The TWD Online platform was developed as a result of research around weight loss conducted within CSIRO's Health and Nutrition Program since 1999. The program provided scientific substantiation that a high protein, lower carbohydrate diet is safe and effective in diabetes and weight loss management.

The value of TWD Online is in extending the original value proposition of scientifically substantiated weight loss and improved dietary nutrition status to an entirely new group of users. TWD Online enables individuals to engage in a 12-week program of weight loss and improved health through diet modification to a higher protein and lower GI diet, with higher rates of sustained weight loss rather than necessarily superior immediate results compared to other forms of weight loss strategies.

The results

Improved health and wellbeing

TWD Online delivers sustainable weight loss for participants, resulting in a reduction in risk of chronic disease for high risk populations. Improved health outcomes will impact on the economy by improving labour productivity. The TWD Online platform does this directly by contributing positively to health outcomes across a range of chronic diseases.

Based on an independent assessment by the Centre of International Economics, it is estimated that the net benefits delivered are a maximum annual benefit of improved labour productivity of $5.8 million per annum from improved health outcomes with a benefit-cost ratio of 2.5:1.

Download the impact evaluation report:

  1. Estimate relates to 2007. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012, Australia's food and nutrition 2012.
  2. Ibid, 2012. Estimate relates to 2009.

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