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Strong public support for traffic-light food ratings in ACT schools: Gallagher

Date

Natasha Boddy and Primrose Riordan

The new policy also proposes barring chocolates, chips and fatty foods from tuck shops.

The new policy also proposes barring chocolates, chips and fatty foods from tuck shops.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher believes there will be strong public support for a proposal to introduce a traffic-light food rating system for school activities and events in the ACT. 

Education and Training Minister Joy Burch opened the draft policy for public consultation on Monday.

The draft policy proposes a traffic-light system ranking food and drinks at ACT public school activities and events.

Food and drinks which should not be on the menu would be flagged as red, while those that should be consumed in moderation would be classified as amber and healthy options would be rated as green. 

Although Ms Gallagher believed there would be broad public support for the policy, she said it was appropriate it was opened to the community for consultation.

"We know from all the research, it's well understood by parents and it's easy to implement at the school level," she said. 

"I'd have it in today if it was my choice but we've got to have that process with schools, work out how they're going to use it and also take feedback. This is a step in the right direction so hopefully we don't need too many super-bariatric (hospital) rooms in the future." 

A blanket ban on vending machines is among several tough new measures for ACT schools being considered under the draft policy which is open for public comment until October. 

About one in four Canberra children are obese or overweight. 

The ACT government wants to introduce a ban on the sale of soft drinks in school canteens by the end of the year and the new policy also proposes barring chocolates, chips and fatty foods from tuck shops, and prohibiting junk food as student rewards.

11 comments so far

  • ACT is quickly becoming a dictatorship, it really is as simple as that.

    Commenter
    SHUT UP WHEN I'M INTERUPTING
    Date and time
    August 26, 2014, 7:59AM
    • Sounds like a great idea with great outcome for small on going effort. We can only try.

      Commenter
      Geoff
      Date and time
      August 26, 2014, 8:06AM
      • Ahhhh....Katy G - the art of looking like you are doing something when you're not! Congrats, expert application of the rule...? Meanwhile back in the real world...

        Commenter
        Big T
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        August 26, 2014, 8:15AM
        • Healthy food labeled green? I thought all food was healthy. Otherwise why not call it poison? 'Food' implies nutritional value, right? Doesn't food's effect depend on how much one eats? Because if there is a "food" that is measurably harmful even in minute quantities, why isn't it banned and its sellers locked up?

          Commenter
          Confused
          Date and time
          August 26, 2014, 8:18AM
          • I think it is interesting that being the intelligent beings that we supposedly are, we need to be told what to eat and when, what to drink, how to exercise...so much for the freedom that democratic society has given us.
            The peverse side to this is this: we get a light rail that we cant afford, higher water and rates to pay for this playground antics, and no doubt someone will abide by the traffic light system for food then sue the Government when their child gets ill. Katy et al, people choose to have children, surely they can choose to feed them what they want and don't need you to increase the liability of the ACT government by forcing the hand of parents.
            Here is a thought, why don't you enact laws that tell parents how they should parent?
            Whatever happened to choice?
            And seriously Katy, don't yopu have bigger issues than trying to be a parent to the whole of the ACT? For example, figuring out how to pay for the liht rail, sort out the buses, deal with your inefficient buruecracy?

            I know...why don't you send old faithful - the aud-gen in to do an audit on the food traffic light system, then we can all go home feeling like we have achieved something and you can have the pretence of an independent review or pay $80,000 for a consultant to tell you what you want to hear, and there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow...or should that be at the end of the tap spout?

            Commenter
            Choice...exit stage left
            Location
            Lillyput
            Date and time
            August 26, 2014, 8:33AM
            • What a nanny state we live in when the government tells us what we can and can't eat. Stop meddling in my life and get back to what you're meant to be doing, fixing roads, cutting grass and emptying rubbish bins

              Commenter
              RDM
              Location
              ACT
              Date and time
              August 26, 2014, 8:56AM
              • I knew it wouldn't take long before 'nanny state' would surface. Where do you draw the line? Should we have the right not to use seatbelts in cars/helmets riding motorbikes when we feel like it? The trouble with that is the community will have to pay for the hospital bills, rehabilitation and perhaps a life-long disability pension if something goes wrong. Haven't we got the fastest rate of increasing obesity in the world? We can't just watch it happen. Are you willing to pay for the costs of having such a large proportion of our society suffering from obesity related problems?

                Commenter
                Veloguy
                Date and time
                August 26, 2014, 9:03PM
            • School activities and events, being relatively infrequent, are occasions where I would let my child eat those more unhealthy food choices. I already know it's unhealthy, I don't need a system to tell me so! Give parents more credit - those whose children are obese likely know the nutritional value of food but have other issues such as setting boundaries or just going for the more convenient option out of laziness.

              Commenter
              tigger
              Location
              Canberra
              Date and time
              August 26, 2014, 9:04AM
              • The best thing Katy G can to, to help Canberran children's health is NOT TO SELL OFF HIGGINS, HOLT and FLYNN school sites and ovals to DEVELOPERS. Such a mean, cruel thing to do, to working class areas. Where will kids run around? But Katy will sell off our ovals, plus others, to pay for the inner north heated lake beachy pool plus footy stadium. Sick politics, Katy.

                Commenter
                fruitfly
                Date and time
                August 26, 2014, 9:13AM
                • So the kids that are fed properly the majority of the time get disadvantaged because of lazy parents who feed their kids crap all the time. My children eat fruit, veges and salads 95% of the time and I like to give them a treat on occaision, I don't need a system to tell me what I can and can't feed my kids. The next thing they will do is only sell green light foods in canteens and amber and red foods will be banned. Kids need to understand food choices as well. If they aren't exposed to other unhealthier foods, how are they supposed to know the difference? Like choice...exit stage left says above, how long will it be before a parent trys to sue a school where the child is supposedly eating green light foods but still becomes overweight or obese....

                  Commenter
                  Fed up parent
                  Location
                  Canberra
                  Date and time
                  August 26, 2014, 10:36AM

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