HEALTHY EATING INITIATIVE HELPS FIGHT DIABETES EPIDEMIC

HEALTHY EATING INITIATIVE HELPS FIGHT DIABETES EPIDEMIC

Posted on 29. Jun, 2010 in News

Fast food outlets will be required to disclose nutritional information about their meals on in-store menus under a new initiative to tackle diabetes and improve the health of Victorians.

Premier John Brumby joined Health Minister Daniel Andrews at Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market today to announce details of the new Victorian Government initiative that will arm consumers with greater information to make informed decisions about their diet.

“Chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiac disease are reaching epidemic proportions in Victoria and Australia,” Mr Brumby said.

“Cardiac disease was the single largest cause of death in Victoria in 2008.  Across Australia 1.1 million Australians are disabled long-term by heart, stroke and vascular diseases. Over 55,000 Victorians had a heart attack in 2009, and nearly 20 per cent of those died.

“More than 270,000 Victorians have been diagnosed with diabetes and we know approximately 80 to 90 per cent of these people suffer from Type 2 diabetes. More than 400 people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes every week in Victoria. 

“The Victorian Government is taking action to tackle the epidemic and is driving significant change to address diabetes and improve health and well-being in our community.

“This new kilojoule or calorie count will give all Victorians the latest information on what is in their food and will help them make even more informed choices about what they buy and eat.”

Mr Brumby said under the new initiative – which was developed in consultation with health experts and the food industry ­– chain-food businesses would be required to:

  • Disclose the energy content in kilojoules of all menu items at point of purchase;
  • Disclose energy content on menus, menu boards and food tags; and
  • Include a daily intake statement on all menus and menu boards.

 

Mr Brumby said the Victorian Government would work with the food industry to further develop the scheme that would apply to chain food service businesses from 2012.

The kilojoule count will be applicable for food businesses who have 200 or more outlets across Australia, or more than 50 Victorian outlets and whose primary purpose is to serve prepared, pre-packaged food or drinks for sale and consumption on or off premises.

Mr Andrews said more than one third of today’s young adults would develop diabetes during their lifetime and 14 per cent of their remaining life would be lived with diabetes.

“If we maintain current diabetes incidence rates, more than a third of our population would develop diabetes within their lifetime and in Australia there be would an additional one million cases of diabetes by the year 2025, and about 25 per cent of these would be Victorians,” he said. 

“We are concerned about health in the community and believe serious and substantial change is required over the next 10 years to address this epidemic.

“This initiative is an Australian-first and has proven successful in other parts of the world such as New York and Scotland. 

“Our Government has been at the forefront of tackling diabetes and this initiative will build on our strong record on preventative health which includes delivering over 177,719 preventative health checks through the $200 million Workhealth Program.”

Mr Andrews said $10.2 million had been provided in the 2010 State Budget for 11,000 hours of diabetes self-management and an additional 292,000 needles and syringes free to 67,000 Victorians with diabetes.

The kilojoule disclosure initiative will roll out from 2012. After an evaluation the government may extend the scheme to chain food services with fewer outlets.

An information campaign will also be launched to assist the public with the change and to assist businesses educate their workforce about the scheme.

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