Susie O’Neill to promote industry efforts to manufacture healthier food

The peak industry body representing food manufacturers in Australia has engaged Susie O’Neill, one of Australia’s greatest Olympians and a prominent advocate for healthy active lifestyles, to revamp a public image tarnished by expanding waistlines and rising levels of obesity.

As the Ambassador for Together Counts – a new online health resource created by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) – Susie O’Neill is encouraging Australians to strike a balance between the kilojoules they consume each day and the kilojoules they burn with physical activity.

The idea of Together Counts is to set goals with family and friends so that you can encourage each other to be healthy and active said Susie O’Neill.

“It’s back to school and work time for many, so it’s a great time to form new habits and routines and to make a positive step towards living a healthy active lifestyle. Achieving energy balance isn’t just about eating the ‘right’ food; it’s also about being active every day – it’s the energy ‘in’ versus energy ‘out’ equation,” said Susie.

“I truly believe the concept of energy balance is a simple way to educate people about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Achieving day-to-day energy balance is essential for healthy weight management, and I think this is possible for anybody, as long as they have access to the right tools and information.”

Although the concept of energy balance isn’t new, Together Counts is a step in the right direction by major food and beverage companies who have contributed to the rise in lifestyle-related diabetes, cancers and heart disease.

As part of the industry’s Healthier Australia Commitment, more than 25 per cent of the major food companies represented by the Australian Food and Grocery Council, have pledged to reduce sodium, saturated fat and sugar in their products by 2015.

As reported in the The Australian on 10 October 2012, AFGC’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Dawson has said “the snack food industry simply had to improve the nutritional value of their products”.

So food and beverage companies including Unilever, Nestle, Campbell Arnott’s, General Mills, Lion, Sugar Australia, Coca-Cola South Pacific and PepsiCo Australia, have pledged to reduce sodium and saturated fat by 25 per cent, and to reduce sugar by 12.5 per cent which is equivalent to removing over 100 billion kilojoules from the food supply.

This week Gary Dawson said he was delighted to have Susie O’Neill as Ambassador for Together Counts, as the next step in the Healthier Australia Commitment campaign.

“The food industry is taking an active approach to help create a healthier Australia. This has already been demonstrated in the recent nutrient reduction targets, and we’ll also be encouraging employee initiatives in the workplace to improve the health of workers, in addition to connecting with Australian families through our new Together Counts platform.”

You can find the Together Counts site on the web at: www.togethercounts.com.au

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