BANNING junk food in hospitals and improving food nutrition labels are opening salvos in a Tasmanian politician's war on unhealthy lifestyles.
Rosevears independent Kerry Finch last week told the Legislative Council that most of Tasmania's health problems were due to poor diet and other lifestyle factors.
He backed a call by Launceston orthopaedic surgeon and health campaigner Gary Fettke that fructose, polyunsaturated oils and refined grains and carbohydrate were linked to most modern disease.
Mr Finch backed a call by Dr Fettke for a reduction in consumption of those products, starting in hospitals.
Their wish list is for chocolates and lolly sales to be banned in hospitals and hospital vending machines, and kiosks being allowed only a maximum 20 per cent of ``red flag'' (unhealthy) foods.
``Most of Tasmania's health problems are due to poor diet and other lifestyle factors,'' Mr Finch told the Legislative Council.
``And it's up to individuals, with government support, to do something about it before we overload health services to destruction.
``No one in this chamber, particularly me, can look at our lifestyle and diet without some misgivings.''
Mr Finch said yesterday he would put a motion to the chamber on September 17, asking members to suggest measures for improving the lifestyle and eating habits of Tasmanians. which would be a signal for government action.
``It's all about people making informed decisions about their lifestyle and keep them out of hospitals,'' he said.
``And to know what you are eating.''
Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne said the government's policy was not to ban foods in hospital canteens, but to encourage all hospitals to continually improve the healthiness of food made available.
``We continue to listen to a wide range of health experts and customers about the kinds of food that should be available,'' she said.