Following the alarming new figures showing Queensland is home to the largest number of childhood obesity cases in the country, Cancer Council has called on supermarkets to take action.
Spokesperson Katie Clift, says the call coincides with World Obesity Day today.
“Childhood obesity in Queensland is the highest of any jurisdiction nationally,” Ms Clift said.
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“We have a growing health problem on our hands and need to work with our community urgently on practical strategies to address it.
“Queensland children need a healthy diet, regular exercise and to maintain a healthy weight to reduce their risk of a range of chronic diseases.”
The most recent Everyday Health Survey by the Cancer Council found 28 per cent of Queensland children are overweight or obese, and identified five urgent strategies to address the issue.
“For a start, we would like to see cheaper healthy foods, including fruit and vegetables – or an increase on weekly specials for families in our supermarkets,” Ms Clift said.
“Easy to read front-of-pack food labels should be mandatory on all packaged products – making it easy for parents to choose the healthiest items during a busy shop.
“We’d like to see supermarkets step up to the game, providing quick, easy and healthy recipe ideas in store.
“Care should be taken to ensure fruit and vegetables are fresh and in season – increasing our state’s appetite for ingredients that will ensure health and wellbeing in the long term.
“Supermarkets should also remove unhealthy junk food items from eye level and at checkout aisles – a review into supermarket layouts is simple, but will go a long way to address this health crisis.
“Our Everyday Health Survey showed strong support from our community on these strategies, and more.
“Queenslanders would like to see restrictions on the number of fast food outlets in our community and the removal of unhealthy vending machines from schools and sports clubs.
“Queenslanders believe restricting junk food advertising to children and increasing the price of junk food and soft drinks will encourage families to choose healthier options.
“Among the strategies with the most potential for success, we would welcome changes to store layout, the provision of healthy recipes for busy families, and more regular fruit and veg specials.”
The Everyday Health Survey was conducted in February this year, surveying diet and lifestyle habits of 840 Queenslanders.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council’s 13 11 20.