Health Minister Roger Cook has told a Budget estimates hearing that the availability of junk food should be reduced at WA hospitals.
Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA Director Dr Melissa Stoneham said a reduction to less than 20 per cent of junk food in our hospitals would be a good step.
“From our point of view, this is a good announcement. It’s a low-cost announcement. It’s one that the government can actually produce an outcome with. It’s achievable,” she said.
Dr Stoneham said a policy banning junk food in hospitals was designed ten years ago but was never implemented.
“This is really some sort of a honeymoon period. I imagine for the healthcare facilities to try to change their current practice and come into line with the existing policy,” she said.
Dr Stoneham said once that was achieved, all junk food could be banned from hospitals.
“We would clearly like him to ban all unhealthy foods in vending machines and drinks,” she said.
“Obesity is one of our biggest issues. We have 27 per cent of adults over the age of 16 obese and 40 per cent overweight and our children are getting fatter every year.
“We’re happy with this initial first step, provided that within the foreseeable future we can start to look at a total ban of junk food in all state government buildings and all our schools.”