In Australia, one in every two people has a chronic disease. These diseases, such as cancer, mental illness and heart disease, reduce quality of life and can lead to premature death. Younger generations are increasingly at risk.
Crucially, one-third of the disease burden could be prevented and chronic diseases often share the same risk factors.
These are in line with the World Health Organisation’s agenda for a 25 per cent global reduction in premature deaths from chronic diseases, endorsed by all member states including Australia.
Today the collaboration is announcing its top ten priority policy actions in response to a recent health report card that identifies challenges to meeting the targets. The actions will drive down risk factors and help create a healthier Australia.
1. Drink fewer sugary drinks
One in two adults and three out of four children and young people consume too much sugar. Sugary drinks are the main source of sugarin the Australian diet and while many other factors influence health, these drinks are directly linked to weight gain and the risk of developing diabetes.
Putting a 20 per cent tax on sugary drinks could save lives and prevent heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. The tax would also generate A$400 million each year that could be spent on much needed health programs.
2. Stop unhealthy food marketing aimed at kids
Almost 40 per cent of children and young people’s energy comes from junk food. Children are very responsive to marketing and it is no coincidence almost two-thirds of food marketing during popular viewing times are unhealthy products.
Restricting food marketing aimed at children is an effective way to significantly reduce junk food consumption and Australians want action in this area. Government-led regulation is needed to drive this change.
– Rebecca Lindberg, Kevin McNamara & Sharleen O’Reilly