Fighting childhood obesity - Education Matters Magazine
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Fighting childhood obesity

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation has welcomed Labor’s $6 million election commitment to restore federal funding to its Kitchen Garden Program.

The program aims to tackle the childhood obesity crisis by teaching children about food and where it comes from in a fun and hands-on way – to help them develop positive food habits for life.

The funding commitment was made by Shadow Minister for Education and Training Tanya Plibersek, and Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare Catherine King at North Melbourne Primary School. According to the foundation, this funding commitment demonstrates a shared vision with the Australian Labor Party.

North Melbourne Primary is one of hundreds of early childhood services, primary and secondary schools all over Australia running a Kitchen Garden Program with the foundation’s support.

Kitchen Garden Foundation CEO Josephene Duffy said Labor’s funding commitment would mean the foundation could deepen the support to schools and services already running the program, and broaden the reach of the program to benefit more communities.

“The incidence of childhood obesity is increasing, with one in four Australian children now overweight or obese. This makes for unwell, unhappy and disengaged children, and will most likely contribute to a future burden of disease that has enormous implications for our health, workforce and social services budgets,” Ms Duffy said.

“The Kitchen Garden Program is a carefully designed model that, with investment from government, has the ability to transform the obesogenic environment for families in every community in Australia.”

Stephanie Alexander AO said that of all her years influencing Australia’s food culture, the Kitchen Garden Program is the achievement she is most proud of. She would love for every Australian child to experience it at their school or service.

“It is so sad to me that for so many children the experience of sitting around a table and sharing a meal is something they are not experiencing on a daily basis,” Ms Alexander said.

“I am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of our Kitchen Garden Program having this amazingly important injection of funds.”

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