Tackling Australia’s obesity crisis is a high priority for the Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie, who today chaired the sixth meeting of the Healthy Food Partnership in Canberra to discuss action on providing consumers with healthier food choices.
“I am very pleased that all delegates agree that the most valuable way of assisting the public with healthier food choices is to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” Minister Gillespie said.
“Members have agreed that some quick and meaningful changes can be made through reformulating foods – such as increasing wholegrain and vegetable content as well as cutting down on sugar, salt and saturated fats, looking at portion size strategies and working with the food service sector including the takeaways, pubs and clubs to produce healthier menu choices.
“Some food manufacturers are already reformulating their foods – reducing the sugar, salt and saturated fat content. A major focus of the Reformulation Working Group will be to work with the food industry to set challenging, but feasible reformulation goals that may help consumers to achieve dietary patterns that are more in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Tracking progress will form an important part of this activity,” Minister Gillespie said.
“The Partnership will consider the role of foods from all five food groups, as well as ‘sometimes’ foods in the diet and, where appropriate, recommend increasing or decreasing portions consumed.”
Minister Gillespie said the great value of the Healthy Food Partnership is that it is a collaborative forum between the Australian Government, food industry representatives and public health groups, all sitting around the same table and all with the same aim – to encourage healthy eating and to make healthier choices easier and more accessible.
The Partnership’s work plan has three key themes — portion size, making healthier choices easier and the reformulation of manufactured foods to make them more nutritious.
The Healthy Food Partnership has a dedicated website with more information.