New menu labelling laws a win for public health

Healthy eating and drinking

You may have seen the news earlier last week that Queensland Parliament passed new laws making it mandatory for food retailers to display the kilojoule contents of food and drinks on store menus.

The approval of this new legislation was backed by CCQ in a submission to Parliament late last year.

Without a doubt, the introduction of menu labelling is a positive move for public health and will help consumers make healthier choices, empowering people to choose healthier foods and avoid unhealthier options that increase the risk of obesity and cancer.

Effective kilojoule labelling has the potential to reduce consumers’ intake of kilojoules, saturated fat, sugars and sodium, and forms an important part of a multi-faceted approach to reducing obesity rates and the future prevalence of chronic diseases.

The laws, passed by Queensland Parliament on Tuesday, will apply to fast-food chains, bakery chains, café chains and supermarkets with at least 20 outlets in Queensland or 50 outlets nationwide.

In Queensland 28 per cent of children and 65 per cent of adults are overweight or obese. On current forecasts, around three million Queenslanders will be in an unhealthy weight category by 2020.

To combat these trends, we welcome strategies that limit the consumption of junk food and drinks and encourage healthy diet and physical activity.

Menu labelling will help Queenslanders to stay healthy and we congratulate the Queensland Government for its action.

Our Public Health team have an important role to play in communicating positive messages to the community about making healthy diet and lifestyle changes, ensuring that people feel empowered to reduce their risks, and avoiding stigmatisation.

We know that at least one-third of all cancers are preventable through lifestyle adjustments including eating a healthy diet, being physically active, reducing alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight.

We recommend Queenslanders:

  • Limit consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and instead drink water and unflavoured low-fat milk.
  • Enjoy two pieces of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day.
  • Avoid takeaway foods high in saturated fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Try to get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity every day.

If you’d like more information on food labelling or reducing your cancer risk, call Cancer Council Queensland’s 13 11 20. ​

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