CRACKDOWN: Queensland Government will move to limit sugary drinks and junk food in government owned hospitals.
CRACKDOWN: Queensland Government will move to limit sugary drinks and junk food in government owned hospitals. Mike Richards GLA081116FOOD

Government cracks down on junk food in hospitals

THE Queensland Government will move to limit sugary drinks and junk food in government owned hospitals and health care facilities by the end of the year.

Federal, state and territory health ministers came together at the COAG Health Council meeting in Alice Springs on Wednesday where Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles led a discussion on the actions needed to prevent child obesity.

Health departments were tasked with developing national minimum nutrition standards for food and drink supply in public health care facilities.

Alongside hospitals, it was announced junk food advertising around children in schools, sports groups and public transport hubs will also be restricted. 

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan commended the government for taking active measures to reduce the burden of obesity across the state.

"With one quarter of Queensland children overweight or obese, strategies like this will help to improve the health of the next generation," Ms McMillan said.

"We commend the Queensland Government on this landmark move to help limit the sale of sugary drinks and junk food across the state to tackle obesity." 

Ms McMillan said sugar-sweetened beverages are a major source of sugar in the Australian diet and young Australians are the highest consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages, along with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and socially disadvantaged groups.

"We know that these beverages have little or no nutritional value, provide excess energy, and lead to weight gain.

"Obesity is an established risk factor for some cancers and other chronic diseases. Although many factors influence obesity, research shows sugary drinks and junk food play a significant role in driving up obesity rates.

"We have a responsibility, together with community groups and health authorities, to facilitate healthy choices and limit the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and junk food and regulate the marketing of junk food to children."

Cancer Council Queensland stated 26 per cent of children and 64 per cent of Queensland adults are overweight and obese.