The government has recently announced a new initiative which asks Australians to think about how healthy their diets actually are and the effect this can have on overall wellbeing.
A new rating system has been introduced, making it easier for the public to better understand how what they eat can effect their health. Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash explained the thinking behind this new Health Star Rating system.
"The HSR system will make it much easier for shoppers to make informed choices about healthier food options. The five star ratings clearly displayed on packaged foods will allow consumers, especially parents, to make healthy food choices for the whole family without spending hours reading labels at the supermarket," says Minister Nash.
Healthy food choices
According to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, over 12 million Australians are considered overweight or obese as per their body mass index. Furthermore, making parents in particular aware of healthy food choices is crucial, as 1 in 4 children in Australia are also either overweight or obese.
The scheme aims to outline four specific areas of interest which will make it easier for consumers to know whether they are indeed choosing produce which is considered part of a healthy diet. The factors to be aware of – and the ones the star rating aims to highlight – are energy, saturated fat, total sugars and sodium content.
Poor diet leads to disease
Only high blood pressure and smoking are considered bigger risks to the long term health of Australians than obesity caused by poor dietary choices. A bad diet can lead to a host of ailments which are likely to only worsen over time if the problem is not rectified.
"The government recognises the burden of disease associated with poor diet and physical inactivity and the Health Star Rating system is one of a suite of measures to make it easier for people to make healthier food choices," Senator Nash concluded.
Whether this latest scheme will have the desired impact on Australian diets remains to be seen, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.
Some of the diseases which are connected with a poor diet can require specialist treatment. Private health insurance can give you additional choices around your treatment if the worst were to happen and you contract a major illness.
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