Cancer Council Queensland is backing a call for the government to commit to an improvement in fast food dietary guidelines following the release of a Medical Journal of Australia study today.
The study* collected sodium data for over 300 Australian fast-food franchises over a period of four years and identified room for improvement.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Kim Ryan said there was a need for a coordinated effort to improve the healthiness of foods in many large corporations.
“We know that up to one-third of all cancers are preventable with a combination of simple lifestyle changes – eating healthily and ensuring you stick to recommended portion sizes, along with following physical activity guidelines,” Ms Ryan said.
“This study shows that we can be doing more to improve the quality of fast-foods to enhance the health of Australians. While there was some reduction in sodium content over the four year study period – it was insignificant.
“Cancer Council Queensland is calling for the government’s Food and Health Dialogue to target fast food in a bid to deliver further falls in salt content in the short term.”
The study identified salt reduction as one of the most cost-effective options for improving public health in Australia.
“It’s vital that our government targets fast food in a bid to curb alarming overweight and obesity rates,” Ms Ryan said.
“Over the past 16 years, we have seen obesity rates in this state double.
“If we are eating more unhealthy foods and moving less, we’re likely to gain weight and increase our risk of a range of chronic diseases – including some cancers.”
Cancer Council Queensland is committed to working with the Health Minister and Queensland Health to engage Queenslanders in healthy living programs, and welcomes funding for new public health initiatives.
“We want to see people reduce their risk of cancer, live healthier and boost their quality of life, and we acknowledge a multifaceted approach is needed to achieve this,” Ms Ryan said.
*Changes in the sodium content of leading Australian fast-food products between 2009 and 2012