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Tackling childhood obesity

Published 10th September, 2018

Reduce overweight and obesity rates of children by five percentage points by 2025

Why is this important to the people of NSW?

Children who are above a healthy weight can have psychological, social and health issues. Immediate health problems can include asthma, bone and joint complications, sleep disturbance, with earlier onset of diabetes and heart disease.

Our research tells us that in NSW:

  • 22 per cent of children aged 5-16 years were above a healthy weight
  • only 26 per cent of children were active enough
  • 43 per cent spent more than two hours per day on TV and computer games
  • 45 per cent of children regularly drink sweetened drinks
  • 62 per cent of children eat enough fruit and only five per cent of eat enough vegetables. 

How are we tracking?

So far, our programs have helped stabilise overweight and obesity rates in children in NSW to 21.4 per cent (247,000 children) in 2017.

By June 2025 we will have reduced overweight and obesity rates by five percentage points within 10 years. That means 62,000 more children will be a healthy weight in NSW. 

Programs to tackle childhood obesity

What are we doing?

Helping kids to get active

Parents and guardians can claim up to $100 in vouchers per school child each calendar year to reduce the cost of registration and participation for sport and fitness activities.

The Active Kids initiative aims to get more children and young people participating in physical activity in NSW. Vouchers are not means-tested and are available to every school child wanting to get active through sport and recreation.

Increasing community education and awareness

We will drive partnerships with key stakeholders to support children and young people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life.

We are emphasising the positive benefits of healthy eating and active living for the whole family. Right now, we are:

Healthy eating in school canteens

The healthy school canteen strategy focuses on increasing the availability of healthy food and drink options in school canteens to make the healthy choice. This includes introducing new simpler canteen guidelines for all of our schools with public schools transitioning over a three-year period (2017-19).

The map below shows the healthy school canteens in NSW.

Healthy school canteens

Source: Department of Education, NSW Health

School Date Location
Adelong Public School 25th July, 2018 Adelong
Albion Park Public School 30th August, 2018 Albion Park
Aldavilla Public School Yarravel
Alma Public School 4th October, 2018 Broken Hill
Ardlethan Central School Ardlethan
Ashbury Public School Ashbury
Ashcroft Public School 14th November, 2018 Ashcroft
Ashtonfield Public School Ashtonfield
Avoca Beach Public School 2nd July, 2018 Avoca Beach
Ballina Public School 23rd November, 2018 Ballina
Bangalow Public School 18th September, 2018 Bangalow
Bardia Public School 14th November, 2018 Bardia
Bass Hill Public School 15th November, 2018 Bass Hill
Bathurst South Public School 1st October, 2018 Bathurst
Bellingen Public School 17th August, 2018 Bellingen
Belmont North Public School Belmont
Belmont Public School 6th September, 2018 Belmont
Berowra Public School Berowra
Bilambil Public School Bilambil
Biraban Public School Toronto
Blackheath Public School Blackheath
Boggabri Public School 21st November, 2018 Boggabri
Bolwarra Public School Bolwarra
Bomaderry Public School 3rd August, 2018 Bomaderry
Bowen Public School 5th November, 2018 Orange
Bowral High School 7th November, 2018 Bowral
Brisbane Water Secondary College Umina Campus 12th November, 2018
Brisbania Public School 9th July, 2018 Saratoga
Broulee Public School Broulee
Brunswick Heads Public School 26th October, 2018 Brunswick Heads
Budgewoi Public School 6th November, 2018 Budgewoi
Bundarra Central School 9th October, 2018 Bundarra
Burraneer Bay Public School 23rd October, 2018 Cronulla
Burwood Public School Burwood
Calare Public School 21st September, 2018 Orange
Cammeray Public School 19th November, 2018 Cammeray
Campbelltown North Public School 14th November, 2018 Campbelltown
Cardiff Public School 13th November, 2018 Cardiff
Cardiff South Public School 16th November, 2018 Cardiff South
Cassilis Public School 28th September, 2018 Cassilis
Cessnock East Public School Cessnock
Cessnock Public School Cessnock
Chatham Public School 28th September, 2018 Taree
Chatsworth Island Public School 17th October, 2018 Chatsworth
Chipping Norton Public School 14th November, 2018 Chipping Norton
Clemton Park Public School Earlwood
Coledale Public School 30th August, 2018 Coledale
Concord West Public School Concord West
Coogee Public School 10th September, 2018 Coogee
Coorabell Public School 13th September, 2018 Coorabell
Copacabana Public School 8th November, 2018 Copacabana
Corindi Public School Corindi Beach
Cowper Public School 2nd August, 2018 Cowper
Cowra Public School Cowra
Crabbes Creek Public School 7th November, 2018 Crabbes Creek
Cringila Public School 7th August, 2018 Cringila
Croydon Park Public School Croydon Park
Daceyville Public School 7th September, 2018 Daceyville
Delegate Public School 11th October, 2018 Delegate
Dobroyd Point Public School Haberfield
Dora Creek Public School Dora Creek
Dubbo South Public School 2nd October, 2018 Dubbo
Dubbo West Public School 29th October, 2018 Dubbo
E A Southee Public School Cootamundra
Earlwood Public School Earlwood
Eastern Creek Public School Eastern Creek
Ellalong Public School 2nd October, 2018 Ellalong
Eltham Public School Eltham
Empire Bay Public School 13th July, 2018 Empire Bay
Enfield Public School Enfield
Epping North Public School North Epping
Epping West Public School Epping
Ettalong Public School 27th September, 2018 Ettalong Beach
Evans River Community School 29th October, 2018 Evans Head
Falls Creek Public School Falls Creek
Fisher Road School Dee Why
Five Dock Public School Five Dock
Forest Lodge Public School Forest Lodge
Fowler Road School Merrylands
Freemans Reach Public School 7th November, 2018 Freemans Reach
Gillwinga Public School 13th July, 2018 South Grafton
Glen Innes West Infants School 11th September, 2018 Glen Innes
Glenroy Public School 22nd August, 2018 North Albury
Glossodia Public School 26th October, 2018 Glossodia
Gordon West Public School Pymble
Gosford East Public School 4th October, 2018 East Gosford
Goulburn Public School 26th October, 2018 Goulburn
Grays Point Public School Grays Point
Gulargambone Central School 2nd October, 2018 Gulargambone
Gulmarrad Public School 11th October, 2018 Gulmarrad
Gundagai Public School 2nd November, 2018 Gundagai
Gundagai South Public School 8th May, 2018 South Gundagai
Gunning Public School 30th July, 2018 Gunning
Hallidays Point Public School 13th November, 2018 Diamond Beach
Hampden Park Public School Lakemba
Hannans Road Public School Riverwood
Harbord Public School 9th October, 2018 Freshwater
Harcourt Public School Campsie
Hastings Public School Port Macquarie
Hayes Park Public School 14th November, 2018 Kanahooka
Heathcote East Public School 19th June, 2018 Heathcote
Heathcote Public School 31st October, 2018 Heathcote
Helensburgh Public School Helensburgh
Hillvue Public School 12th September, 2018 Tamworth
Holgate Public School 22nd August, 2018 Holgate
Hornsby Heights Public School Hornsby
Huskisson Public School Huskisson
Illawarra Sports High School 4th October, 2018 Berkeley
Iluka Public School 29th August, 2018 Iluka
Iona Public School 6th September, 2018 Woodville
John Purchase Public School 6th November, 2018 Cherrybrook
Kanwal Public School 22nd June, 2018 Kanwal
Kegworth Public School Leichhardt
Kellyville High School 5th November, 2018 Kellyville
Kempsey South Public School Kempsey
Kincumber Public School 13th November, 2018 Kincumber
Kooringal Public School 20th November, 2018 Wagga Wagga
Kurrajong East Public School 30th October, 2018 East Kurrajong
Lake Albert Public School 31st August, 2018 Lake Albert
Lakemba Public School Lakemba
Lambton Public School Lambton
Lansdowne Public School 5th September, 2018 Lansdowne
Lawrence Public School 17th July, 2018 Lawrence
Lennox Head Public School 19th April, 2018 Lennox Head
Lisarow High School 30th August, 2018 Lisarow
Lisarow Public School 6th July, 2018 Lisarow
Macquarie Fields Public School 8th November, 2018 Macquarie Fields
Manifold Public School 20th November, 2018 Bentley
Marrickville Public School Marrickville
Mayfield East Public School 13th September, 2018 Mayfield East
McCallums Hill Public School Roselands
Medlow Public School 13th September, 2018 Upper Taylors Arm
Merrylands East Public School Merrylands
Middle Dural Public School Middle Dural
Miller Public School 14th November, 2018 Miller
Millfield Public School 7th November, 2018 Millfield
Milperra Public School 15th November, 2018 Milperra
Minnamurra Public School Minnamurra
Moruya Public School Moruya
Moss Vale Public School 9th August, 2018 Moss Vale
Mount Colah Public School 7th September, 2018 Mount Colah
Mount Hunter Public School 23rd July, 2018 Camden
Mount Kuring-gai Public School Mount Kuring-gai
Mullumbimby Public School 6th November, 2018 Mullumbimby
Muswellbrook South Public School 21st November, 2018 Muswellbrook
Nana Glen Public School 30th October, 2018 Nana Glen
Narara Public School 12th July, 2018 Lisarow
Narrabeen North Public School North Narrabeen
Narrabeen Sports High School 9th October, 2018 North Narrabeen
Nemingha Public School 29th October, 2018 Nemingha
Neville Public School 4th May, 2018 Neville
New Lambton South Public School 28th September, 2018 New Lambton
Niagara Park Public School 2nd October, 2018 Niagara Park
Normanhurst Public School Normanhurst
North Wagga Public School 2nd August, 2018 Wagga Wagga
Northbridge Public School Northbridge
Orange Grove Public School Leichhardt
Ourimbah Public School 28th August, 2018 Ourimbah
Parkview Public School Leeton
Point Clare Public School 6th November, 2018 Point Clare
Pretty Beach Public School 13th November, 2018 Pretty Beach
Punchbowl Public School Punchbowl
Putney Public School Ryde
Quirindi High School 29th October, 2018 Quirindi
Quirindi Public School 12th July, 2018 Quirindi
Rainbow Street Public School 28th June, 2018 Randwick
Rankins Springs Public School 13th September, 2018 Rankins Springs
Red Hill Public School 6th November, 2018 Wagga Wagga
Rosebank Public School Rosebank
Roselea Public School Carlingford
Ross Hill Public School 21st November, 2018 Inverell
Rous Public School Alstonville
Sackville Street Public School 14th November, 2018 Ingleburn
Sanctuary Point Public School 20th September, 2018 Sanctuary Point
Sandy Beach Public School 22nd June, 2018 Sandy Beach
Sawtell Public School 3rd October, 2018 Sawtell
Scone Public School 17th August, 2018 Scone
Scotts Head Public School Scotts Head
Shell Cove Public School Shell Cove
Singleton Heights Public School 30th October, 2018 Singleton Heights
Singleton Public School 9th November, 2018 Singleton
Smithtown Public School Smithtown
Soldiers Point Public School 22nd November, 2018 Soldiers Point
South West Rocks Public School 31st August, 2018 South West Rocks
St Helens Park Public School 14th November, 2018 St Helens Park
Stanmore Public School Stanmore
Sturt Public School 31st July, 2018 Wagga Wagga
Summer Hill Public School Summer Hill
Sylvania High School 8th November, 2018 Sylvania
Tabulam Public School Tabulam
Tahmoor Public School 7th November, 2018 Tahmoor
Tamworth Public School 7th September, 2018 Tamworth
Tamworth South Public School 27th September, 2018 Tamworth
Tarro Public School Tarro
Tea Gardens Public School 16th November, 2018 Tea Gardens
Temora West Public School 20th November, 2018 Temora
Teralba Public School 12th September, 2018 Teralba
Terrey Hills Public School Terrey Hills
Teven-Tintenbar Public School 28th August, 2018 Tintenbar
The Rock Central School 23rd August, 2018 The Rock
Thomas Acres Public School 7th November, 2018 Ambarvale
Turramurra Public School Turramurra
Tyalla Public School Coffs Harbour
Uki Public School Uki
Ulong Public School Ulong
Ungarie Central School 19th July, 2018 Ungarie
Urbenville Public School Urbenville
Valley View Public School 17th July, 2018 Wyoming
Wallabadah Public School 8th November, 2018 Wallabadah
Wallsend Public School 19th October, 2018 Wallsend
Walters Road Public School Blacktown
Wamberal Public School 2nd July, 2018 Wamberal
Wardell Public School 8th August, 2018 Wardell
Warnervale Public School 6th July, 2018 Hamlyn Terrace
Warrawee Public School Turramurra
Wheeler Heights Public School Collaroy Plateau
Willawarrin Public School 13th September, 2018 Willawarrin
Willoughby Public School Willoughby
Willyama High School 13th November, 2018 Broken Hill
Woodberry Public School 24th October, 2018 Woodberry
Woodburn Public School 7th August, 2018 Woodburn
Woodport Public School 10th July, 2018 Erina
Woonona East Public School 14th August, 2018 Woonona
Woy Woy Public School 3rd July, 2018 Woy Woy
Woy Woy South Public School 9th October, 2018 Woy Woy
Wyoming Public School 21st September, 2018 Wyoming
Wyong Public School 22nd June, 2018 Wyong
Wyrallah Road Public School 17th October, 2018 Lismore
Yanco Public School Yanco
Young High School 31st July, 2018 Young

We agree there is more to do

Our next areas of focus are:

Case studies

Marrickville Public School – Made to order

Marrickville Public School

Just about everything on the menu is made from scratch at Wil’s Canteen at Marrickville Public School in Sydney’s inner west. The canteen is operated by Wil Angus, who likes to make the food fun as well as healthy and appealing.

“What can be good for you can also taste good, be interesting, be enjoyable and be a talking point," said Mr Angus.

Principal Kerry Chambers says healthy eating also impacts on the students’ learning as well as their physical wellbeing.

“They feel healthy, they feel happier and they learn more," said Ms Chambers.

The canteen’s healthy menu reinforces the healthy living lessons taught in the school and is a hit with parents.

“The Healthy School Canteens Strategy was a perfect fit for our community," said Ms Chambers.

Bourke Street Public School – Bike to Bourke

Bourke Street Public School

Cycling to school is a family affair at Bourke Street Public School where around 80 per cent of students regularly walk, scoot or ride their bikes to school – or hitch a ride on mum or dad’s electric bike.

The Bourke Street Cycleway, which runs from Woolloomooloo to Redfern was completed in 2012. It provides a safe and easy way for parents to get their kids to and from school – and then to continue to their workplaces after drop off.

Local mum Lydia Ho, who is also General Manager of BikeWise, a company that delivers cycling programs for children and adults for the City of Sydney Council said she was inspired to start the Bike to Bourke campaign when her eldest child was ready to start school.

“I approached the P&C and the principal to see if they were interested in running an incentive program and we were able to obtain a matching grant from the council,” Mrs Ho said.

“We set it up as a competitive thing, where kids were competing to ride as much as they could to school.

“Cycling to school is just a way of life, the kids really don’t think about it – it’s an organic thing and they just do it, it has just become the norm.”

Bourke Street principal Peter Johnston said about 80 per cent of the schools kids walk, cycle or scooter to and from school each day.

“With the bike path came the bike riding and walking to school because of the congestion. Then we introduced the healthy canteen and the vegetable garden went in," Mr Johnston said.

“The kids are calmer and more energetic, they are active happy and healthy."

Mr Johnston has some advice for other schools considering an active travel to school program – to start off small, little things lead to bigger things.

What can you do?

Get involved

Parents and carers can offer healthy food options and get active with their kids! Communities can also support healthy living by making sure there is access to fresh, affordable food and ways to encourage activity, such as safe playgrounds and cycleways.

Published 10th September, 2018
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