The Obesity Policy Coalition has welcomed The Greens' pledge to put prevention at the forefront of its health platform ahead of the Victorian election.
As part of its Public Health Action Plan announcement today, The Greens have pledged to implement mandatory kilojoule labelling in chain stores and invest in a $1.2m education campaign to support it.
Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the OPC, says The Greens' plan is uncompromising in prioritising health but it will be opposed by Big Food. The challenge is now for the Liberal and Labor parties to also prioritise preventive health and to have the courage to stand up to the lobbying from the processed food industries.
"Victoria was the first state to announce it would introduce kilojoule labelling but it has dragged its feet and it is now lagging behind NSW, South Australia and the ACT who have it in place. In NSW, mandatory kilojoule labelling, supported by public education, resulted in a substantial decrease in the median kilojoules purchased.
"Policies that provide information to help consumers take responsibility for their own healthy food choices can help reduce the burden of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer in Victoria.
"With obesity at record levels, Labor and Liberal should follow The Greens' lead and implement kilojoule labelling as part of a comprehensive approach to tackle the issue."
The Greens' plan also includes $3.5m for TV advertising about the risks of sugary drinks, particularly for children.
"Australian children and adolescents are high consumers of sugary drinks and these are major contributors to unhealthy weight gain and dental caries," Ms Martin says.
The OPC has also applauded The Greens for its pledge to make health and wellbeing a central consideration in its planning laws.
"By aligning planning laws with Victoria's public health goals we can promote healthy food environments and fresh food outlets over fast food chains and have a positive impact on the health of our communities."
Details of the OPC's Victorian election priorities are available on the OPC website