GO FOR 2 AND 5 CAMPAIGN
The Hon. CHRISTINE ROBERTSON:
My question is directed to the Minister for Health. What is the latest information on Government action to support research into the health and financial benefits of eating healthy food rather than junk food?
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA:
Many people think fast food is the cheapest way to grab a snack or have a quick bite to eat. Put simply, that is a myth. The Real Cost of Healthy Food Report Card, released as part of the New South Wales Government's Go for 2 and 5 campaign, found that junk food is neither cheap nor healthy. Eating healthy food is good not only for your waist but also for your wallet. Indeed, healthy food was, on average, less than one-third of the price of junk food alternatives, and in these tough economic times that is an important factor for families across the State when planning meals. While the cost of fruit and vegetables is subject to variation, they still work out to be a more cost-effective option when considered on a kilogram-by-kilogram basis, even in the current climate where fruit and vegetable prices have increased in response to a spate of natural disasters.
The report card reveals that rather than eating something like banana muffins, chocolate, fruit bars and potato chips, going instead to healthy alternatives such as bananas, sultanas and apples, the savings can add up to about $3,500 a year for a family of four. So by eating healthier, families are not only preventing obesity but saving money as well. Many snack foods tend to be higher in kilojoules and fat and contain fewer nutrients, which is a dangerous recipe when combined with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. With 50 per cent of adults either overweight or obese and the increase in childhood obesity in recent years, it is important that we keep our weight under control to avoid chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Preventing chronic disease keeps people out of hospital emergency departments and helps alleviate pressure on our hardworking hospital staff, which is vital as we plan for the challenges ahead in dealing with an ageing and growing population. Many of these challenges will be addressed by the Government next week, when it releases its response to the Garling report's 139 recommendations, "Caring Together: The Health Action Plan for NSW". Maintaining a healthy daily diet that experts say should comprise two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables is an easy way to tackle this problem without blowing the family budget, which is a real concern for New South Wales families. The Go for 2 and 5 campaign provides a range of practical solutions to help people incorporate more fruit and vegetables into their diet, including tips on how to make sensible savings along the way. The report card can be accessed online at www.gofor2and5.com.au.