Time to get control of what we eat

Jacob Mildren, 17, Tahlia Biggs, 17, Cody Power, 17, and Ashley Whitehead, 16, are off to Melbourne to take part in the YMCA Victorian Youth Parliament program. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

Jacob Mildren, 17, Tahlia Biggs, 17, Cody Power, 17, and Ashley Whitehead, 16, are off to Melbourne to take part in the YMCA Victorian Youth Parliament program. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

TIGHTER restrictions on fast food television commercials could become a reality if a group of Wodonga students have their way.

Members of the annual YMCA Victorian Youth Parliament will propose a bill in Melbourne’s Parliament House on Monday, targeting convenience and culture of the fast food industry.

The aim is to shrink the region’s growing obesity problem, team leader Tahlia Biggs, 17, said.

“Australia has a horrifying obesity rate, particularly in this region, that is on the rise,” she said.

“This leads to higher costs to the health system and a greater burden of disease.”

Students will call for no more than three fast food television commercials to be aired within an hour.

“By setting stricter regulations on the fast food industry, we are aiming to reduce obesity rates and deter the temptation that people have to consume unhealthy foods,” chamber leader Jacob Mildren said.

Fast food chains too close to schools will also be on the agenda.

The students will debate having a two kilometre fast food-free zone around schools.

Tahlia and Jacob will be joined by team members and Wodonga Senior Secondary College students Lillian Arnold-Rendell, Brandon Bulowski, Ashley Whitehead and Cody Power.

The program provides the opportunity for 120 people aged between 16 to 25 to take over the chambers and debate issues and ideas that are important to them.

All bills passed by the youth parliament are given the assent of the youth governor and are handed to Minister for Youth Affairs, Ryan Smith, who will then pass them to the relevant government ministers for consideration.

Since the program commenced, more than 25 bills that passed the youth parliament have gone on to become Victorian legislation, including drug testing for drivers, over the counter availability of the morning after pill and replacing glass with plastics in nightclubs notorious for glass related violence.

The nine-day program includes three days of debate in the Parliament in Spring Street, Melbourne, as well as an official reception at Government House.

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