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We want healthier kids, poll finds

Its carrots rather than Cokes for our kids, if most Australians get their way.

A survey of more than 2000 people, commissioned by Royal Children’s Hospital, has revealed we think our pollies are failing our kids, health-wise, and we’d like them to do something about it.

The Australian Child Health Poll found that not just weary parents were disgruntled: 70 per cent of people without kids thought politicians weren’t doing enough for children’s health.

Findings further included that a majority of respondents, regardless of age, income, and parental status, were in favour of taxing sugary drinks, compulsory daily physical activity in schools and a gradual ban on junk food advertising.

The poll’s director, pediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes, said the findings “were an unexpected call to action” for our bureaucrats.

“Problems such as childhood obesity and mental health [issues] are on the rise, and what’s clear from the Child Health Poll is that children’s health issues are very much a priority for voters,” Rhodes asserted.

But health isn’t just about weight, and the survey reflected that. Participants’ thoughts on the relationship between children and neighbourhood safety, family violence, the environment, employment opportunities and early education were also measured.

The results? Most believed neighbourhood safety has decreased, and a substantial quota thought the environment and employment prospects have worsened for Gen Z. Almost a third deemed that domestic violence rates had increased for the current crop of youngsters.

Also, about 70 per cent of respondents backed government-funded fulltime preschool or childcare for kids aged 4.

Despite the generally dispiriting nature of the findings, Rhodes saw them in a positive, hopeful light.  “We hope these findings give our politicians confidence they have the public’s support on difficult policy interventions,” she said.

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