Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Smart card a smart way to tackle childhood obesity

A smart initiative to tackle childhood obesity by utilising the latest checkout technology was launched today by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony.

Mr Anthony praised Dairy Farmers’ Smart Card as an initiative that will give parents more control over the food their children order from the school canteen and encourage school students to develop healthy eating habits.

“It is difficult for parents to make sure their children are eating the right foods, especially when they aren’t there to supervise. The Dairy Farmers’ Smart Card will give parents the tools to guide their children’s canteen choices.

“Parents deposit money onto their child’s Smart Card which is debited when the child orders their food. The card holds information such as foods parents have stipulated their child is not allowed to order, food allergies and dietary conditions. Parents can also set a daily spend limit.

“To encourage healthy eating, children are awarded points that build up to win prizes when they order healthy foods.

“We need to improve the eating habits of our kids because we have one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the developed world. Currently, one in five children are considered to be overweight and one in ten are considered obese.

“If this trend continues, we will have a big problem on our hands in the future. Not only will there be increased pressure on our health system, there would be millions of Australians physically unable to live a life as fulfilling as it should be.

“This is compounded by the fact that 40 per cent of children do not participate in organised sport. With children spending more time in front of the television and computer, we need to get our kids off the Playstation and into the playground.

“There is no doubt that we need to raise fitter and healthier children. To do this, parents need all the help they can get to ensure their children are eating the right foods, particularly when they are not there to supervise.

“That’s why the Dairy Farmers’ Smart Card is such a great idea. It will encourage children to have a balanced diet, help canteen staff and give parents more control over their children’s eating habits at school,” Mr Anthony said.