Healthy Australia program aims to reduce childhood obesity
Healthy eating program feedAustralia is aiming for an ambitious target of halving the rate of children aged five to 14 years of age who are overweight or obese by 2025.
The partnership between the Australian Government and Healthy Australia has successfully created the feedAustralia program for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector with the support of Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt who has helped in getting the program “market ready”.
Through this support, feedAustralia has been offered to the ECEC sector at no cost, ensuring that education and care providers are able to play their part in reducing the number of Australian children who are overweight (currently 17 per cent) or obese (7 per cent).
“feedAustralia is a program that insures the ECEC sector against contributing to, sustaining or worsening this health epidemic,” Eugene McGarrell, Healthy Australia CEO said.
More than 6,000 ECEC services currently use feedAustralia’s tools, which include a menu planning tool which works in conjunction with existing child care management systems, and includes a nutritional database of more than 200 healthy recipes and snack suggestions with established energy, macronutrient profiles and food group breakdowns.
As well as supporting services to plan, prepare and plate nutritious meals for children, the feedAustralia program also saves each service an average of $3,500 in groceries every year.
The program will remain free until 30 August 2020, with those services who are registered with feedAustralia on 1 September 2020 being offered the program at a discounted price of $1 per child per year. In addition, services signing up for feedAustralia on 1 September will be granted permission to use feedAustralia in their branding material.
“The benefit of feedAustralia to services of convenience, cost savings, management of risk, adherence to regulation and enhancement of reputation is substantial, but it will always be secondary to the benefit it has to children,” Mr McGarrell said.
Healthy Australia has plans to scale feedAustralia across the sector and into new sectors including aged care and disability. A feedAustralia volunteer program to support “fussy eaters” is also in the pipeline.
“This is just the beginning of the road for feedAustralia. We believe the potential to cut the overweight and obesity rates by half by 2025 will have a significant impact in creating a healthier Australia,” Mr McGarrell concluded.
More information about feedAustralia is available here.
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