A Mars a day is definitely not OK
QUEENSLAND top doctors are getting tough on unhealthy snacking saying Australian kids should follow guidelines of two snacks a day at 100 calories each - cancelling out Mars Bars at 230 calories or a bag of chips at 160 calories.
The Australian Medical Association Queensland (AMAQ) chief said Australian parents needed to fall into line with the new dietary recommendations that have been launched in the UK and start protecting their kids rather than pandering to them.
The regular consumption of high-calorie snacks is part of the reason one in four of the state's children are obese or overweight.
The call for strict control on discretionary junk has sparked controversy in the UK.
"We don't support banning specific foods and drinks but parents need to accept responsibility for their children's health," AMAQ President Dr Bill Boyd said.
"Kids love chips and chocolate bars but they should only be eaten as occasional treats and not be part of anyone's daily diet. The first priority of parents is to protect their children, not pander to them, so it's time to stock up on fresh fruit and ditch the chips," he said.
Public Health England's major campaign is aimed at parents of children under 11 and is advising parents to allow children aged five to 11 just two snacks of no more than 100 calories each per day, with small yoghurts, rice crackers and fruit recommended as alternatives to chips, chocolate bars and soft drinks.
Dr Boyd said the Public Health England guidelines were equally applicable in Australia.
"Australia is one of the most obese nations in the developed world," he said.
"Doctors have been raising the alarm about this issue for decades but the message still isn't getting through to many people. Parents who allow children to overeat and gain a significant amount of weight are putting their health in jeopardy," he said.
"Obesity causes heart disease, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and musculoskeletal problems. That is not a legacy any parent should leave to their child."