Local businesses join the fight against obesity

Released 07/03/2016

Local Canberra businesses have taken up the fight against obesity with the launch today of a pilot program that will see participating businesses increase their promotion and availability of healthy food and drinks, and reduce the marketing of unhealthy food and drinks, particularly towards children.

Assistant Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris today launched the ‘Choose Healthier’ local business pilot project with the Canberra Business Chamber. The four local businesses involved are the Hellenic Club in Woden, IGA Supermarkets in Kambah and Nicholls, Tommy and Me Cafe in Macgregor and the Limelight Cinema in Tuggeranong.

“This project is a new and innovative way for the ACT Government to work with local businesses to help tackle the challenge of obesity in our community,” said Minister Fitzharris.

“As part of the pilot project, the ACT Government is partnering with the Canberra Business Chamber to work with local businesses on actions to increase the promotion and availability of healthy food and drinks, and reduce the marketing of unhealthy food and drinks, particularly where targeted to children.

“Rising levels of overweight and obesity represents one of the ACT’s biggest health challenges, with almost two-thirds (63.6 per cent) of adults and one-in-four children in the ACT overweight or obese.

“By getting local businesses involved, we can work towards our target of zero growth for obesity under the Healthy Weight Action Plan.

“The pilot will showcase the important role that local businesses can play in making it easier for people to make healthier choices, and I am pleased to acknowledge and welcome the participation of local businesses in the pilot today,” said Minister Fitzharris.

The Canberra Business Chamber will work with the businesses to support incremental changes that encourage their customers to make healthier choices. This could include changing store layouts or product placements, reducing unhealthy food and drink marketing or offering healthier children’s meals.

“At the end of the pilot period, we will look at the strategies that have been successful with the aim of promoting these to other businesses Canberra-wide,” Minister Fitzharris said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Canberra Business Chamber Robyn Hendry said, “I want to thank each of the businesses taking part in this pilot. They are helping us find new ways to encourage Canberrans to make healthier choices.

“Through their involvement, we hope to show that businesses can play a role in improving health outcomes, without impacting on their sustainability,” said Ms Hendry.

The Choose Healthier pilot project will run for three months from April to June 2016 and is part of the ACT Government’s Healthy Weight Initiative.

- Statement ends -

Section: Meegan Fitzharris, MLA | Media Releases

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