New IGA Food Traffic Light System Cards - Healthy Eating

Photo from Left: Lindy Stuchbery & Kelly Edwards - PDH Health Promotion Staff
Friday, 1 July 2016
A new system of `traffic light’ food labels will show Portland people what’s healthy and what’s not so good.

The new how to read food label cards can be found on food aisles at Portland IGA, thanks to a partnership between the supermarket, Portland South Primary School and the SEA Change program. Card Link:

The cards use the 'traffic light' system of food labeling, which indicate which foods fall into the healthiest or green category, according to their sugar, fat and salt content per 100gms. The cards are modeled on a resource developed by the Obesity Prevention Coalition of Australia and VACCHO.

Health promotion team leader at Portland District Health, Lindy Stuchbery, said the cards are one of the many positive outcomes of the school's recent clubs program, which saw all children learning how to look for the healthiest items for their lunchboxes, shopping at the supermarket and then cooking lunchbox favourites that were heatlhier than other alternatives.

The activity is part of SEA Change, a collective impact approach to creating a healthy community .

About 59 per cent of Glenelg Shire residents are recognised as being overweight or obese.

We need to act now to prevent the ongoing upward trend of chronic health issues caused by wieght and obesity issues, Ms Stuchbery said.

PDH dietitian Melissa Yip welcomed the system and said she hoped it led to healthier choices.

It is a good idea to use the cards to compare packaged foods but not everything has a label and we shouldn't forget healthy natural food such as fruit and vegetables in fresh form,Ms Yip said.

For example fruit roll-ups might be preferred because they have a health star rating and a nutrition panel but fresh fruit would be the better option.

School principal Vicki Fisher said the school had been working to help children and families understand what constitutes a healthy lunchbox.

The school started a partnership with SEA Change in 2015 to engage parents and the school community to develop a healthy eating program.

Other activities have included establishing a vegetable garden, a healthy eating cookbook and introduction of healthy foods in the canteen.

We are trying to educate parents and children to make informed choices, Ms Fisher said.

The traffic lights are highlighted in the school newsltter and in health, physical activity and wellbing program.

Daly's IGA Supermarkets group operatiuons manager Nathan Lovell said Daly's IGA appreciates the opportunity to partner with our community to promote healthy lifestyle initiatives.

Promoting healthy food choices and continually enhancing our quality fresh food offer remains a key focus of our business, Mr Lovell said. The partnership with PDH and Portland South Primary has been fantastic to enable students to learn in-store about different products and what to look for on product labels to enable them to make healthier selections when shopping with their parents.

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