A group of Australian scientists has suggested reducing the cost of healthy foods to assist in the fight against obesity. "Over the last few years, the things we want people to eat have gone up in price more than processed food," said Sydney University's professor of human nutrition, Ian Caterson. "So if we make them cheaper, we're rewarding people for eating the right things rather than punishing them for eating the wrong things."
Caterson said although eating habits are often ingrained, research indicated price strongly affects the types of food people buy. He suggested for fresh food could be brought into line with that of processed food if the government offered subsidies to growers, retailers and those involved in transport and distribution.
World Health Organization (WHO) research from earlier this year showed obesity rates were climbing faster among Australian children than those in other Western countries. WHO said the number of overweight or obese children in Australia had doubled since 1985. About a quarter of Australian children under the age of 16 were overweight or obese according to WHO measures.