How a junk food ban could be the key to a healthy nation

Published: 20 February 2017


Junk food could soon be banned from schools and sports venues as the nation’s nutrition experts spearhead a crackdown on our obesity crisis.

As part of the move youngsters would also no longer be given junk food vouchers as reward for sporting performance or fundraising while the number of unhealthy food venues would diminish making room for healthy food outlets.

According to reports, 100 experts from 53 organisations working with state and federal bureaucrats have established a 47-point plan to address the issue, which is costing the nation a whopping $56 billion a year.

The study found there is a massive variation in how each state address food labelling, advertising and health policies.

Now, experts want an overall national strategy.

"There is no silver bullet to helping people eat more healthily," study leader Dr Gary Sacks said in a statement.

"We know from international evidence that we need coordination across federal, state and local government to implement a whole suite of different policies to tackle the problem."

The plan would include a junk food and soft drink tax in order to make them more expensive, as well as reducing the advertising and marketing for those products to children.

"It's a good start to have policies for restricting junk foods in school canteens, if kids are then inundated with unhealthy foods at sports venues, and they see relentless junk food ads on prime-time TV, it doesn't make it easy for them to eat well,” Dr Sacks said.

Executive manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition Jane Martin told ABC News the obesity problem is “absolutely preventable” and that the nation simply needs to adopt a similar strategy.

"Let's not forget this is a problem that is absolutely preventable and we have 27 percent of children overweight or obese and they are much more likely to go on to become obese adults so we really need to get this early," she said.

"In the end we are all paying for this through our taxes.

"The health system is costing more and more and I don't think everybody would be happy for the government to sit back and just increase their tax and not do anything else."

More than 1.4 million Australians have Type 2 diabetes while stomach, bowel, kidney, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, oesophagus, endometrium, ovary, prostate and breast cancer have all been linked to obesity, which is one of our leading causes of death.