Poll: Public angry at gov't and industry’s approach to healthier food

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Poll: Public angry at gov't and industry’s approach to healthier food

Related tags Nutrition

Two-thirds of Australians believe that the food industry has more say than the government over food regulation, while eight out of 10 believe the health star rating should me mandatory for all packaged foods, according to disturbing figures released by a consortium of health groups.

Moreover, eight out of 10 also expect their children to live shorter lives than their parents if more is not done to reduce the country’s intake of fatty, sugary and salty foods and drinks, according to the survey by the Consumers Health Forum, the Heart Foundation, the Obesity Policy Coalition and the Public Health Association of Australia.

Four demands

The health bodies had joined forces for the first time to urge the government to to toughen its stance towards the promotion of unhealthy food, particularly to children, and polled more than 1,000 Australians to gauge opinions.

Presenting their findings this week, the groups called on health ministers to make the star system compulsory, oppose junk food marketing to children through social media, explore a sugar tax on drinks and strength a national programme to reduce excessive sugar, sat and fat from processed foods.

It’s time for decisive action when 85 per cent of Australians says unhealthy diet is a problem for our children and 79 per cent fear their children will live shorter lives because of their fatty, sugary and salty food and drinks​,” the four organisations said in a statement.

The evidence is damning. On unhealthy food promotion, profits have been put before people​.”

Obesity crisis

Accusing the government of “nannying​” the food industry, the groups estimate that obesity now costs Australia A$56bn (US$46bn) a year in direct and indirect costs.

The health groups also blamed the government and industry for disguising any real action on unhealthy food by focusing on measures to lift low levels of physical activity. 

Exercise is vital but by itself will not solve our obesity problem​,” they said.

Adam Stankevicius, chief executive of the Consumers Health Forum, added: “Improving information availability and not ‘blaming’ consumers for being obese, will create winners all round.”

Heart Foundation chief executive Mary Barry said Australia was facing a crisis, with about 60% of Australian adults and a quarter of children now classified as overweight. Of these, around 25% of adults and six per cent of children are considered obese.

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1 comment


Posted by Rod Ripkin,

79% fear their kids will live shorter lives?!? why don't you stop giving them garbage?! no, we'll wait for the gov to do something instead!

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