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The Australian population's high rates of obesity and the resultant increased risk of non-communicable diseases (NCD), present a great challenge to governments and policy makers. Increasingly, strategies to influence health have become priorities for planners, however Australian planning laws continue to operate largely without regard for public health goals.
This policy brief provides an overview of:
provided comment on the three key reform areas proposed in the Victorian
Government’s draft policy framework: 'Grow Learn Live Well: Promoting
the health of Victoria’s children and young people’. It focused on
initiatives to support and empower children and families to live healthier
lives; to create healthy environments; and align priorities across sectors to
improve health and wellbeing.
Targeted initiatives would build upon achievements attained
through Healthy Together Victoria initiatives.
The submission also
emphasised the importance of integrating preventative health considerations
across other policy sectors, including those not traditionally concerned with
The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) is calling for government action to stem the obesity epidemic following the release of the COAG Reform Council's final report on healthcare reform.
The terms of reference for the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing Inquiry into Obesity were to report on the implications of increasing obesity rates for Australia's health system, and to recommend actions by government, industry, individuals and the broader community to manage the obesity epidemic.
The OPC's submission to the Inquiry made a number of recommendations for action by government, including the following:
The OPC's submission to the Interim Report of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity welcomed the report but encouraged the Commission to strengthen its position by:
The OPC's submission to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry's Issues Paper to inform the development of a national food plan recommended:
The OPC also recommended that the government adopt the recommendations in the Labelling Logic report, investigate options for taxing/subsiding foods to influence consumption, set maximum targets for fat, sugar and salt across food categories (and targets for reduced population intake) and restrict unhealthy food advertising to children.
The OPC's submission, regarding the proposal to make the inclusion of 'per serve' information within Nutrition Information Panels (NIP) on packaged foods optional in Australia, focused on the need for FSANZ to:
The Comprehensive Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy (2011) was undertaken at the request of the Australian Ministerial Council, with the agreement of the Council of Australian Governments.
The OPC's first submission was in response to the Food Regulation Standing Committee's (FRSC) Consultation Paper for a Front of Pack Labelling Policy Guideline. The OPC recommended that the policy guideline should support the introduction of a uniform, mandatory and easy to use front of pack labelling system, preferably a traffic light labelling system.
The OPC's second submission was in response to the review panel's issues consultation paper. It outlined a number of key recommendations for changes to food labelling law and policy to encourage healthier patterns of eating in the Australian population, including:
The Review Panel adopted a number of the OPC's recommendations for food labelling reforms (see Labelling Logic - Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy Report). In particular, the Review Panel recommended the introduction of a traffic light labelling system on the front of food packs and fast food menus (recommendations 50 - 54), the introduction of mandatory energy labelling on fast food menus and vending machines (recommendation 18), requirement that all foods that make nutrition claims must meet general nutrition profile criteria (recommendation 20b) and establishment of a food labelling bureau (recommendation 57- 61).
The OPC's third submission was to inform the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments' response to the Labelling Logic report. It encouraged Australian governments to support the adoption of the recommendations in the report, particularly recommendations 50 - 54, 18, 20b and 57-61. It also made some additional suggestions to strengthen the effectiveness of, and compliance with, any traffic light labelling scheme.
The Obesity Policy Coalition has today released the first Australian plan for
legislation that offers real protection for children from unhealthy food
advertising – one of the key drivers of childhood obesity.
Letter to The Age