Health groups support Labor commitment on prevention

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance welcomes the recent Federal Labor announcement, if elected, of a $115.6 million investment in a healthier Australia.

Chair of the Alliance Sharon McGowan said the commitment reflected the growing burden of chronic disease in this country and the urgent need for action to stem its tide.

“One in two Australians have a chronic disease, and this affects their quality of life and wellbeing over many years. Yet much of this burden could be prevented,” said Ms McGowan.

Alliance members, including the National Heart Foundation, Stroke Foundation, Diabetes Australia, Kidney Health Australia and Cancer Council Australia, have long called for sustained public education campaigns to improve awareness of risk factors and promote the benefits of a healthy diet and physical activity.

Ms McGowan welcomed the funding for education campaigns, as well as the renewed focus on improving the food environment through food labelling, reformulation and a review of unhealthy food marketing to children.

“We know that children are exposed to vast amounts of junk food advertising, despite voluntary industry codes, and this can influence food preferences and consumption,” said Ms McGowan.

“Reviewing the current system is an initial step, and we call on the major parties to commit to protecting children by introducing stronger restrictions across all media.”

The commitment of $260 million for bike paths was also welcomed as part of a comprehensive approach to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

“Creating healthy environments is essential to empower people to be physically active and integrate movement into their daily lives,” said Ms McGowan.

“These commitments reflect a long-term vision to prevent chronic disease in Australia and we call on all parties to invest in the future health and wellbeing of the population.”