Parent advocacy group, Parents’ Voice, today joins calls for the Australian Federal Government to adopt the Australian Obesity Prevention Consensus, Tipping the Scales. Led by the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) and Deakin University’s Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE), Tipping the Scales features eight policy actions to underpin a national obesity prevention plan.
Drawn from national and international recommendations on obesity prevention, the eight policy actions represent the most urgent and critical components of a national prevention strategy. They include: food reformulation targets; weight-related public education programs; a levy on sugary drinks; a national obesity taskforce; and national diet, physical activity and weight guidelines.
Endorsed by 34 community, public health, medical and academic groups, including Parents’ Voice, the consensus also calls for legislation to implement time-based restrictions on exposure of children to unhealthy food and drink marketing. Campaigns Manager, Alice Pryor, is particularly supportive of the move: “This is a key issue for Australian parents and our annual Fame and Shame Awards highlight the failure of industry self regulation. It’s time to protect our children from exploitative food marketing.”
Tipping the Scales recommends the Health Star Rating System (HSR) be made mandatory by 2019. In a recent survey conducted by Parents’ Voice, 81.7 per cent of Australian parents supported the compulsory introduction of the HSR system. “Australian parents are overwhelmingly in favour of front of pack labelling,” Ms Pryor added. “Parents are concerned about the contents of packaged foods, but are pressed for time while shopping. Front of pack labelling is an essential part of making our food systems healthier.”
Parents’ Voice are also keen to increase the activity levels of Australian children and therefore support the call to develop and fund a comprehensive national active travel strategy to promote walking, cycling and public transport. Parent Rebecca Zosel said: “We know that only 19 per cent of Australian children are meeting their daily targets. For me as a parent, the daily walk to school is key to fitting in the 60 minutes of activity that my kids need.”
Acknowledging the importance of the document and its potential to reduce the prevalence of obesity throughout the population, Ms Pryor said: “Parents’ Voice supports Tipping the Scales and looks forward to its implementation. One in four Australian children are overweight or obese, so we must act to ensure our children are protected from unhealthy environments.”