TOO SWEET: The State Government's push for a ban on soft drink sales in a move to combat growing rates of childhood obesity. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail
TOO SWEET: The State Government's push for a ban on soft drink sales in a move to combat growing rates of childhood obesity. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail Zach Hogg BUN230314SFT1

Healthy foods at hospitals in a bid to minimise obesity

HEALTH facilities in the Northern Rivers will have increased access to healthy foods in an announcement by NSW Health.

One in two adults and more than one in five children in NSW are overweight or obese.

The Heart Foundation NSW has welcomed the announcement that sugary drinks will be removed at health facilities this year as part of a launch of a healthy food and drink policy aimed directly at its own ranks, a first in Australia.

NSW Heart Foundation Chief Executive, Ms Kerry Doyle said obesity and the issues surrounding it are complex and take a range of strategies over a sustained period of time in order to bring about real change. 

"We applaud the NSW Health Department on leading the way in the provision of healthy food and drink options at their facilities and limiting access to soft drinks is a sensible place to start," Ms Doyle said.

The policy is designed to support its Make Healthy Normal campaign and support NSW Health staff and visitors by increasing the availability and choice of healthy foods and drinks in NSW Health facilities, with healthy choices set to make up at least 75 per cent of the offering. 

Excess weight is associated with a wide range of chronic health conditions including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and some cancers. 

"People visiting hospitals and patients should all have access to healthy foods and not have the temptation of sugar laden drinks confronting them at every corner," Ms Doyle said.

"This move by NSW Health is an important strategy in a multifaceted approach in reducing the growing size of people's waistlines.

"Governments at every level have a role to play in making the healthy choice the easy choice for people and this is an important step by NSW Health towards the creation of a healthy food environment," she said.

More information on the policy (Healthy Food and Drink in NSW Health Facilities for Staff and Visitors Framework), tools and resources to support implementation can be found at www.health.nsw.gov.au/heal.


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