Cooking classes offered in schools to counter obesity issue

DOCTORS have called for mandatory cooking classes in regional schools to help address the nation's obesity problem - and more Gladstone students are set for time in the kitchen.

Australian Medical Association boss Steve Hambleton has blamed Australia's fixation with fast food for teaching children bad eating habits.

"It's because we eat out too much," Dr Hambleton said.

"There's a de-skilling of a generation. Everyone (in schools) should be taught how to prepare and cook food."

Students at St Stephens Lutheran College will introduce a home economics subject to students in Years 6-9 next year.

Principal Ian Marks said the college used to offer cooking classes, but stopped a couple of years ago.

He said he was excited to see the relaunch of the classes.

"The more they can learn about the selection of food and preparation of food and understand the enjoyment you get from cooking, the better," Mr Marks said.

Students in Years 6-7 will participate in the mandatory cooking classes, while students in Years 8-9 can take the subject as an elective.

Gladstone State High School offers home economic subjects for students in Years 8-10, with a TAFE hospitality course available to senior students.

Toolooa State High students in Years 8-10 can study home economic subjects as an elective.

Chanel College runs a food technology class for Years 8 and 9, and a Certificate II in hospitality for senior students.

In May, Diabetes Queensland said obesity could cost Gladstone $33 million a year unless urgent action was taken.

At the time, Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said a food labelling system should be introduced for junk foods to educate people about the fat and sugar content.

Earlier this year, Queensland Health figures showed nearly 23% of Gladstone residents were obese.

Across the state, obesity rates have doubled since 1996 - an extra 30,000 more obese adults each year.

FAT GLADSTONE

  • Nearly 23% of Gladstone region residents are obese
  • A further 34.7% are overweight
  • Treatment and care for obese people costs Gladstone community $13m a year
  • 65% of people in Central Queensland are overweight or obese, compared to 58% in Queensland

*Queensland Health data



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