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Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

We need more Healthy Kids

A Federal Government newsletter to help families tackle childhood obesity was launched today by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony.

“Approximately 20 per cent or one million Australian children are estimated to be overweight or obese. These rates have continued to rise to the point where Australia now has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity amongst developed nations.

“Also of concern is more than 40 per cent of Australian children play no sport and do not participate in other physical activity.

“In response to this worrying trend, I asked the Department of Family and Community Services, Health and Ageing and the Australian Sports Commission to collaborate to develop the Healthy Kids newsletter.

“Having the right information is vital and Healthy Kids will give families the latest information and advice on keeping their children healthy and active through a balanced diet and regular exercise.

“We know that many children are filling up on high fat, high sugar food and drinks. They are also spending more time in from of the television than ever before and also spending great amounts of time in front of the computer.

“Parents have a responsibility to look after their children’s health and ensure their children are eating sensibly and getting enough exercise. Our children need to spend less time in front of the Playstation and more time in the playground.

“We have to address this issue now. Obesity can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes and heart conditions. We are facing the possibility that 20 per cent of our population will not be able to participate in the community to their full potential in their adult lives.

“The Healthy Kids newsletter gives parents some simple and practical advice on helping our children lead happy and healthy lives, ” Mr Anthony said.

Healthy Kids is a quarterly newsletter available from child care services, Centrelink and Family Assistance Offices and the Active Australia Schools network across the country. The first edition will be available from mid August.