Get through winter in great shape with 8700kJ campaign – by guest expert Dr Joanna McMillan APDNutrition News — By Emma Stirling on July 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm
Have you noticed new kilojoule information on the menu boards at your local fast food or coffee shop chain? On our road trip this week it was a talking point on our pit stop, especially the black coffee I ordered with only 2kJ! What you may not realise is that there is a lot of work going into helping people interpret this new info. And no better person to champion the cause then this week’s guest expert.
Dr Joanna McMillan is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with a PhD from the University of Sydney. She is also a trained ﬁtness leader and popular media spokesperson who has been with TODAY for over 5 years. She writes a weekly column for Sunday Life, blogs for Essential Kids and is the nutrition expert for several ACP magazines. She is the 8700kJ campaign supporter.
Last week I joined a panel of health and nutrition experts for a live debate hosted by the NSW Food Authority and NSW Health to celebrate its 8700kJ campaign. The 8700kJ campaign is an educational initiative to support new laws introduced in NSW on mandatory menu board labelling. Fast food chains and larger snack food chains with over 20 outlets in NSW and 50 outlets nationally, must now display the kilojoule counts at point of purchase. Participating outlets are displayed here.
The line up
Alongside myself and long-time friend and fitness expert Michelle Bridges, we welcomed Dr Lisa Szabo, Chief Scientist at NSW Food Authority, Professor Ian Caterson, Director of the Institute of Obesity, Nutrition & Exercise at the University of Sydney and Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Chief Health Officer to the 8700kJ Big Night In gathering. Also in attendance was Waverley Council and Bondi Rescue’s Trent ‘Maxi’ Maxwell who brought colour to the Gen Y findings.
8700kJ study into winter eating behaviours
We kicked off the evening by looking at some hard facts, from recent research by the NSW Food Authority. The study revealed that almost half of Australian’s expect to put on 1-2kg this winter – that’s the equivalent to the weight of more than two million beef burgers.
When you break these numbers down these figure are quite alarming – men are expected to gain more weight than women in winter, with 15% claiming they are more likely to. And over half (59%) of Australians say weight gain will be caused by exercising less and eating more fast foods and takeaways.
As the days get darker we often lose our routine, staying inside more often and seeking warmth in takeaways and fast options. There is also a psychological shift in winter and it is almost like we are going on holiday – the exercise and balanced eating goes out the window. Winter is a pivotal time for weight gain and we don’t usually notice we’ve put on the kilos until September-time and by then it can be pretty difficult to shift for spring and summer.
The introduction of kilojoule energy values is going some way to help people make informed food choices. However there is a huge education piece to be done around kJs: the panel agreed that people are still confused about what they are, what they measure and what the average daily kilojoule intake should be.
The 8700kJ campaign is about just that – helping Aussies make informed food choices in relation to their ideal daily kilojoule figure. It has been making good progress in raising awareness around kilojoules as a metric measure and lower kilojoule options. The 8700kJ figure is for the average Australian, however you should calculate your ideal figure by visiting 8700kJ. Remember in winter this figure doesn’t necessarily change, in fact it may go down if you are exercising less, and being aware of that can help us all make better food choices.
You’ll find handy tools on the site like this swap chart and also in the new iphone app:
Thanks Jo. I’m so sorry I couldn’t join you in Sydney – looking at those divine sliders and Mish’s shoes I wish I had! It’s great that you could share with us. I’m off to check out the app. How about you lovely readers? What do you think about kilojoule menu board labelling?