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                    [post_content] => P1010247

 

Australia’s dentists have mauled what they fear is a looming shutdown of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), warning the program’s closure “will be the biggest setback for oral health in a generation.”

Peak body the Australian Dental Association has gone on the attack over uncertainty surrounding the scheme’s future funding in the run-up to the May 3rd Federal Budget, cautioning any rollback will come just as the subsidy program is starting to have an impact.

The CDBS is targeted at around 3.4 million children from lower income backgrounds and provides funding for families of $1,000 in dental treatment every two years.

Its core purpose is to get kids whose parents would otherwise struggle to pay a dentist’s bill turning-up to surgeries to get dental problems, especially decay and cavities, treated much earlier and before they develop into major issues that can cost thousands of dollars to fix.

However with the scheme’s take-up initially lower than estimated, there are fears the cash will be snatched back and repurposed, leading to long terms negative consequences.

As Australian kids gulp down big volumes high sugar soft drinks, dentists say cutting the CDBS isn’t just inviting a disaster, it bucks a wider international health policy push to control excess sugar consumption by using taxes to send a price signal.

“Australia is one of the top 10 countries for high levels of per capita consumption of soft drink where a third of Australians drink a can a day and almost half of children (47 per cent) aged between two and 16 years, drink sugar-sweetened beverages each day. This means that if such habits continue, Australians stand to develop a multitude of health problems in the future,” the ADA said in its statement.

“In spite of the increasing trend of government to support public health, the Australian Government is rushing to get some election year Budget savings by planning to end the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.”

One challenge the Child Dental Benefits Schedule has encountered is that although the program is hitting its mark in terms of targeting, take-up remains lower than estimated thanks to a combination of under-marketing and poor awareness of how to access the scheme.

Dentists say they want a voucher system introduced to replace the present standard form letter from Medicare so that people better understand that they’re entitled to free treatment.

While a voucher system is potentially more expensive to devise, deliver and administer than present bulk billing arrangements, many believe it would be worth implementing to maximise take-up.

A real risk for schemes and programs that underspend is that sooner or later Treasury and the government’s bean counters will seek to claw back the cash and put it to work elsewhere—precisely what the ADA is trying to avoid.

It is understood Health a primary concern of Minister Sussan Ley’s office is that uptake of the CDBS has only been around 30 per cent of eligible recipients.

While the Health Minister is certainly talking-up the long term benefits of early dental intervention, any conspicuous commitment to retaining the CDBS appears to have been shoved under the Budget cone of silence.

“The Commonwealth has a responsibility to ensure every dollar it invests in dental services delivers the best health outcomes possible,” a spokesman for Ms Ley said.

“We also know that tackling dental health issues early is vital and can alleviate more significant problems and expense later in life. The Turnbull Government continues to work on its previously announced dental health reforms, with more details expected in coming weeks.”

However Labor’s Shadow health Minister, Catherine King, is accusing the Turnbull government of purposefully burying the scheme she says Labor first put in place.

“The government's own report confirms Labor's dental scheme is a success,” Ms King told Government News.

“It shows the scheme has been providing dental devices to the kids who need it most but the Turnbull government is deliberately hiding this, denying millions of kids the chance to get their teeth fixed.”

One obvious policy option both major parties will be cautiously observing is the rollout of taxes and levies on sugary drinks overseas to combat obesity and diabetes – a far tougher public policy sell in a sugar exporting economy like Australia.

Dentists, who frequently go into bat against sugar marketers, are happy to point out how domestic policy contrasts and link it back to the kids’ dental program.

“While the United Kingdom is protecting oral health by announcing its sugar tax, the Australian Government instead plans to kill the Child Dental Benefits Schedule,” the Dental Association said.

It argues that in the two years the scheme has been operating it’s been hitting the mark.

“In just over the two years of the CDBS’ operation, children from low income families have benefited from provision of more than 9.7 million dental treatments; services which they could not otherwise have been able to access,” the Dental Association said.

“No government can legitimately claim it cares about Australian children’s oral health if it denies them dental care because of the lack of means.”
                    [post_title] => Pulling kids dental scheme a kick in the teeth: Dentists
                    [post_excerpt] => Mistake of a generation.
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                    [post_content] => Subway

Subway, the company famous for its foot-long meatball subs, has made a landmark foray into the school canteen market after it secured a deal to provide lunches to children attending an independent school in South Australia.

In a precedent certain to stimulate appetites among multi-billion dollar fast-food chains operating in Australia, Golden Grove Lutheran Primary School in Adelaide is making waves after it farmed out the preparation of school lunches two days-a-week to the sandwich giant.

The arrangement between the school and Subway is a highly significant development for both the children’s education sector and the fast food industry, not least because of the passionate, ongoing debate and controversy over whether convenience food chains market to children; and whether their marketing practices are contributing to child health problems including obesity.

Convenience food corporations are certainly getting smart to the commercial opportunities more 'child friendly' products present.

Dominos Pizza in the US already delivers its kid-engineered “Smart Slice” to American schools, which comes loaded with one-third lower salt and fat pepperoni, low-fat mozzarella and a 51 per cent white whole wheat flour base.

Subway’s entry into Golden Grove came after parent who ran a local franchise suggested the idea after her children’s classmates asked for Subway sandwiches. She went into partnership with the school and Golden Grove children were offered the choice of a 4 or 6 inch sandwich, water or juice and a cookie for lunch.

Subway’s big advantage is that its core offering is essentially a variation on the tuck-shop classic of a salad roll.

And despite the considerable attention, a New South Wales children’s health promotion charity schools says schools struggling to run their canteens could do worse than to outsource to Subway.

Jo Gardner, chief executive of the Healthy Kids Foundation which has 1100 school canteen members across NSW, said Subway’s sandwiches and wraps could be fine, providing the fillings were not high in saturated fat and salt.

However, she was concerned about the inclusion of the cookie and the size of the juice offered, which she thought was 500ml.

“The nature of the food from Subway, which is fresh rolls and cheese or meat and salad: there could be a lot worse,” Ms Gardner said. “If you’re talking about outsourcing to McDonalds or KFC it would be quite problematic.”

“But I would want to see wholemeal sandwiches, rolls or wraps, low fat cheese and ham and no processed meats high in nitrates, salt or fat.”

She pointed out that the children at Golden Grove Primary School were only offered Subway sandwiches Monday and Tuesday. The school contracted out its canteen from Wednesday to Friday five years ago and it is managed by a neighbouring school.

South Australia’s Right Bight nutrition policy, which governs what can be sold in school canteens and preschools, allows fruit juice only if it is 99 per cent juice – which Subway’s is – and no bigger than 250ml.

Cookies, however, are a “red traffic light” food, which means it can only be sold in school canteens or at events twice a term.

A Subway spokesman said the example of Golden Grove was a “local franchise initiative” before adding that “Subway does not have a national school lunch program.”

He understood children were offered low fat options like turkey, ham and roast beef but he said a salami sub was also offered “for variety”.

“The subs offer lots of fresh salad veggies like lettuce, baby spinach, tomato, cucumber, capsicum, carrot and onion. Additional options available include low-fat milk, water, juice and a cookie,” he said.

The juice was not a standard national product but many franchises chose to stock Golden Circle Popper Apple Juice (250ml), which had no added sugar or preservatives and was 99.7 per cent apple juice.

South Australia’s Department for Education and Child Development said that the state’s school canteens were supported by the Right Bite policy and were “generally very healthy”.

“It is up to schools whether or not they outsource their canteens, however the Department expects outsourced providers to comply with the Right Bite policy,” said a spokeswoman.

Of the state’s public school canteens, 49 per cent were operated by schools; 17 per cent had an alternative food supply, like a local deli, and 12 per cent were outsourced. Sixteen per cent did not have a canteen.

Schools are increasingly outsourcing their canteens. Ms Gardner said that around 365 of the 2,223 NSW government schools had already outsourced their canteens, representing about 16 per cent of all public school canteens. She said this earned around $5.5 million in leasing fees for the NSW Department of Education.

Outsourcing was growing in popularity because of the complexities and requirements of operating a food business, which included: food ordering, staff management, food safety and nutrition standards, equipment maintenance and difficulty attracting reliable volunteers.

“From our perspective, if it assists the school to provide a food service that’s needed and wanted in the school and what’s on offer meets the (nutritional) guidelines there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be supported,” Ms Gardner said.

Jill Drury, chairperson of the South Australian School Canteen Network, said there was a mix of outsourced and school-run canteens in South Australia but she did not know of any other school with a similar arrangement in place with a fast-food company.

“Schools need to do what is best for them, as long as the company offers items that are within the Right Bite policy,” Ms Drury said.

“Other schools may very well follow Golden Grove if it the best thing for their school,” Ms Drury said.

Golden Grove Lutheran Primary School did not comment by deadline but the school’s website says:  “We believe this direction is a positive one as it provides families with a service and option for Mondays and Tuesdays and is a healthy choice as we have a restricted menu available,” said the website.

“Schools have been outsourcing lunch orders for many, many years and this arrangement is mutually beneficial for families who can choose a cheap and nutritious option for two days a week when they weren't able to before.”
                    [post_title] => Subway on school canteen menu
                    [post_excerpt] => Lunch orders from multinational fast food chain

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By Rob O'Brien

Six South Australian councils will pioneer a push to root out the causes of childhood obesity with an ambitious project announced by the State Government.

The $22.3m Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle (Opal) program for children and families will involve the councils of Mount Gambier, Port Augusta, Marion, Onkaparinga, Salisbury and Playford.

A team of six co-ordinators will start work on the project this week, which is aimed at tackling obesity and chronic disease in the community.

South Australian Minister for Health John Hill said Opal was based on a French model and is one of the few programs in the world that has proven results in combating childhood obesity.

“A quarter of our state’s children are in the unhealthy weight range, which places them at increased risk of health, emotional and social problems as youngsters and later of course as adults," he said.

“The implications of poor nutrition and a lack of exercise are serious, not just for the lives of those children, but also for the health system and the state’s economy.

“The OPAL managers will work closely with local groups to come up with community wide solutions to these important health issues.

The State Government is spending $11m to tackle obesity in the community and support healthy eating and physical activity in 2009-10, including funding of around $1.4 million for the Go for 2&5 campaigns and SA Health’s contribution to the Be Active campaign.
 

[post_title] => SA councils to launch obesity project [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sa-councils-to-launch-obesity-project [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-11 12:06:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-11 01:06:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 3 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23582 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-04-11 16:41:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-11 06:41:26 [post_content] => P1010247   Australia’s dentists have mauled what they fear is a looming shutdown of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), warning the program’s closure “will be the biggest setback for oral health in a generation.” Peak body the Australian Dental Association has gone on the attack over uncertainty surrounding the scheme’s future funding in the run-up to the May 3rd Federal Budget, cautioning any rollback will come just as the subsidy program is starting to have an impact. The CDBS is targeted at around 3.4 million children from lower income backgrounds and provides funding for families of $1,000 in dental treatment every two years. Its core purpose is to get kids whose parents would otherwise struggle to pay a dentist’s bill turning-up to surgeries to get dental problems, especially decay and cavities, treated much earlier and before they develop into major issues that can cost thousands of dollars to fix. However with the scheme’s take-up initially lower than estimated, there are fears the cash will be snatched back and repurposed, leading to long terms negative consequences. As Australian kids gulp down big volumes high sugar soft drinks, dentists say cutting the CDBS isn’t just inviting a disaster, it bucks a wider international health policy push to control excess sugar consumption by using taxes to send a price signal. “Australia is one of the top 10 countries for high levels of per capita consumption of soft drink where a third of Australians drink a can a day and almost half of children (47 per cent) aged between two and 16 years, drink sugar-sweetened beverages each day. This means that if such habits continue, Australians stand to develop a multitude of health problems in the future,” the ADA said in its statement. “In spite of the increasing trend of government to support public health, the Australian Government is rushing to get some election year Budget savings by planning to end the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.” One challenge the Child Dental Benefits Schedule has encountered is that although the program is hitting its mark in terms of targeting, take-up remains lower than estimated thanks to a combination of under-marketing and poor awareness of how to access the scheme. Dentists say they want a voucher system introduced to replace the present standard form letter from Medicare so that people better understand that they’re entitled to free treatment. While a voucher system is potentially more expensive to devise, deliver and administer than present bulk billing arrangements, many believe it would be worth implementing to maximise take-up. A real risk for schemes and programs that underspend is that sooner or later Treasury and the government’s bean counters will seek to claw back the cash and put it to work elsewhere—precisely what the ADA is trying to avoid. It is understood Health a primary concern of Minister Sussan Ley’s office is that uptake of the CDBS has only been around 30 per cent of eligible recipients. While the Health Minister is certainly talking-up the long term benefits of early dental intervention, any conspicuous commitment to retaining the CDBS appears to have been shoved under the Budget cone of silence. “The Commonwealth has a responsibility to ensure every dollar it invests in dental services delivers the best health outcomes possible,” a spokesman for Ms Ley said. “We also know that tackling dental health issues early is vital and can alleviate more significant problems and expense later in life. The Turnbull Government continues to work on its previously announced dental health reforms, with more details expected in coming weeks.” However Labor’s Shadow health Minister, Catherine King, is accusing the Turnbull government of purposefully burying the scheme she says Labor first put in place. “The government's own report confirms Labor's dental scheme is a success,” Ms King told Government News. “It shows the scheme has been providing dental devices to the kids who need it most but the Turnbull government is deliberately hiding this, denying millions of kids the chance to get their teeth fixed.” One obvious policy option both major parties will be cautiously observing is the rollout of taxes and levies on sugary drinks overseas to combat obesity and diabetes – a far tougher public policy sell in a sugar exporting economy like Australia. Dentists, who frequently go into bat against sugar marketers, are happy to point out how domestic policy contrasts and link it back to the kids’ dental program. “While the United Kingdom is protecting oral health by announcing its sugar tax, the Australian Government instead plans to kill the Child Dental Benefits Schedule,” the Dental Association said. It argues that in the two years the scheme has been operating it’s been hitting the mark. “In just over the two years of the CDBS’ operation, children from low income families have benefited from provision of more than 9.7 million dental treatments; services which they could not otherwise have been able to access,” the Dental Association said. “No government can legitimately claim it cares about Australian children’s oral health if it denies them dental care because of the lack of means.” [post_title] => Pulling kids dental scheme a kick in the teeth: Dentists [post_excerpt] => Mistake of a generation. 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childhood-obesity

childhood-obesity

SA councils to launch obesity project

By Rob O'Brien Six South Australian councils will pioneer a push to root out the causes of childhood obesity with an ambitious project announced by the State Government. The $22.3m Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle (Opal) program for children and families will involve the councils of Mount Gambier, Port Augusta, Marion, Onkaparinga, Salisbury and Playford. A […]