The Cancer Council would like to see cheaper healthy foods available in supermarkets.
The Cancer Council would like to see cheaper healthy foods available in supermarkets. SbytovaMN

Childhood obesity on the rise

THE Cancer Council has called on supermarkets to take urgent action in the fight against obesity, with concerning figures showing Queensland is home to the largest number of childhood obesity cases nationally.

The call coincides with World Obesity Day this week.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said about 28% of Queensland children were overweight or obese.

"Childhood obesity in Queensland is the highest of any jurisdiction nationally.

"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."

Cancer Council's most recent Everyday Health Survey identified five urgent strategies to address the childhood obesity healthy crisis state wide.

"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."

Cancer Council's Everyday Health Survey was conducted in February 2016, surveying the diet and lifestyle habits of 840 Queenslanders to improve community health and wellbeing.



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