MEDIA RELEASE: TACKLING CHILDHOOD OBESITY WITH HEALTHY EATING IN SCHOOLS - TUESDAY, 5 MARCH 2019

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP  
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 
THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

 
 TACKLING CHILDHOOD OBESITY WITH HEALTHY EATING IN SCHOOLS

Hundreds of thousands of Australian schoolchildren will learn healthy food habits under a Shorten Labor Government plan to tackle childhood obesity.

Labor will restore federal funding for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, a successful initiative that teaches kids about food in a fun, hands-on way - setting them up for a healthier life.

One in four Australian children is overweight or obese. Without intervention, many of them will become overweight or obese adults.

This is a national health crisis, and poor nutrition is a leading contributor.

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, initiated by the respected food writer and chef, addresses the crisis by helping children form positive food habits.

Schoolchildren learn about fruit, vegetables, and herbs - how to grow them and how to use them to make healthy food.

The program attracts the overwhelming support of students, parents, and teachers.

The last federal Labor government rolled this program out nationally.

But under Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and now Scott Morrison, the program has received no federal support.

Labor’s new $6 million commitment will restore federal support for around 800 schools that have already implemented the program thanks to funding from federal and state Labor governments.

It will also support at least 1,200 additional schools and early learning centres to implement the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program – meaning more than 2,000 communities around Australia will benefit from Labor’s investment.
 
Of these, around 180 schools in three disadvantaged regions will receive intense services and supports. Labor will announce these regions after further consultations with the Stephanie Alexander Foundation and local communities.

Labor believes obesity in both children and adults is a critical public health issue – so it’s critical we invest in preventative health.

We have been calling on the Liberals to act on the issue of obesity for years but all they’ve done is cut programs.

The Liberals cut $368 million from Labor’s National Partnership agreement on Preventative Health, and a range of other preventative health measures.

By contrast, Labor takes the health of our kids seriously. We want them to grow up healthy and happy. We don’t want them consigned to life of obesity-related chronic disease.

Only Labor can be trusted to look after the health of all Australians, including giving our schoolkids the best start in life.

TUESDAY, 5 MARCH 2019