Jane's cover image
Jane

Jane MARTIN

Year of Award: 2011 Award State: Victoria Health And Medicine > General
Policy > Government
The Jack Brockhoff Foundation Churchill Fellowship to study advocacy strategies to encourage government to adopt evidence-based policies to prevent Australians becoming overweight and obese - USA, UK
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As the Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC), Jane Martin wanted to develop the skills and knowledge to accelerate government action on obesity prevention in Australia. The OPC is a partnership of public health groups and advocates for policy and regulatory reform to prevent obesity in the areas of marketing, pricing and labelling.

She found more similarities than differences when exploring the facilitators and barriers affecting the fight to protect children’s health and mitigate obesity. This is because there are powerful vested interests lobbying against effective policy, led by the ultra-processed food industry.

Countering this is made more difficult by a lack of consensus and willingness by the public health community to take on these influential interests. One area where Jane saw she could effect change was building consensus with key public health groups about policy actions for the Federal Government. She worked with colleagues to establish a Steering Committee and oversaw a review of global recommendations to prevent obesity.

The national blueprint they developed has been endorsed by more than twenty national groups and was launched in August 2017 together with a continuing advocacy campaign.

Jane has made progress in making her recommendations a reality, ensuring that the Brockhoff investment improves the health of all Victorians, especially children. She has developed new partners and focussed on community engagement, such as being an outreach partner with That Sugar Film.

Media advocacy remains a key focus of her role. With her growing public profile she is able to shine a light on the issue of childhood obesity as a serious public health problem and frame solutions in line with global, best practice recommendations. Jane has continued to build support for policies, particularly with the medical profession. She collaborated with the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) to encourage support of obesity prevention.

This resulted in the CPMC adopting the policy of a tax on sugary drinks and a call for the medical profession to do more in their sphere of influence to make healthy foods more available in places such as hospitals.

The Churchill Fellowship enabled Jane to connect and learn from organisations and individuals who put the health of children ahead of corporate profit-making. She has been able to use these lessons and continues to collaborate with many of them since her Fellowship.

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