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Obesity battle sparks lunchbox plea

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek and dietician Trudy Williams teaching Brisbane school children about portion control and healthy lunches.
Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek and dietician Trudy Williams teaching Brisbane school children about portion control and healthy lunches. Ava Benny-Morrison

A CHOCOLATE Freddo frog and a packet of crisps or an apple and a wholegrain sandwich?

The Queensland Government and health experts are urging parents to chose the latter to put into their child's lunch boxes in an attempt to battle an escalating obesity problem.

A recent study released by the Queensland Chief Health Officer revealed 26% of Queensland children were either overweight or obese in 2012.

Dietician Trudy Williams explained how a healthy lunchbox could help tame the increasing and worrying obesity trend rife among the state's younger population.

"It is very simple, you don't have to make lunch boxes fancy or difficult," she said.

"Its very simple to assemble a very basic lunch box and its going to include a source of bread, grain, a wrap, a roll or something in that sort of form.

"Also some vegetable and salad.

"Fruit is a obvious addition and that is a great substitute for the sweet treats that parents tend to put in lunch boxes.

"And dairy product, of course, to help with dental care and bone strength."

The health research also found only 60% of kids ate the recommended serving of fruit per day while only 29% ate the recommended vegetable serving.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the childhood obesity rate was continuously increasing.

But he confirmed the state was not willing to step in and force a menu change at public schools.

"Yes, the problem is getting worse and it's of major concern to the government," he said.

"Preventative illness and disease, a lot of which is related to bad nutritional choice, is costing us billions of dollars each year on our health system."

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the duty came down to parents.

"Its all very well to say we as the government with state school tuckshops should be mandating what children will eat," he said.

"I think it very important for parents to remember that we only have their children at school for 13% of the time.

"Its what (parents) send their children to school with that will set them up. "

Topics:  diet, editors picks, health, lunch, obesity, queensland government



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