No Junk November fosters heart healthy eating across WA

A key to the success of the inaugural No Junk November (NJN) campaign was the commitment and support of West Australian ambassadors, like West Coast Fever player Kaylia Stanton who is featured on the front page of our latest newsletter.

Other ambassadors include WA Health Minister Roger Cook, who gave up his office lolly jar, became a No Junk November ambassador and filmed two videos of support along with: Dr Michelle Ammerer, Consultant Cardiologist and Director of Coronary Care at SCGH and Heart Foundation Board member; Dr Jenny Deague, Director of Cardiology at Joondalup Health Campus; Dr Nikki Stamp, Cardiothoracic surgeon (lung and heart surgeon) based at Fiona Stanley Hospital and Matthew Dawson, Australian Hockey player.

The Heart Foundation WA also joined with the Australian Medical Association WA during November to call for a statewide government audit and overhaul of all food and drink in hospital vending machines in a bid to cut back on junk food access.

All public and private hospitals in WA – including the new Perth Children’s Hospital – were also asked to make a public pledge to phase out all sugary drinks as soon as possible. This included the removal of soft drink, juices with very little fruit, iced teas, sports drinks, cordials and energy drinks.

Heart Foundation WA was greatly encouraged by the number of West Australians who used No Junk November as a “breathing space” to look at the influence junk food, junk food marketing, habit and stress was having on their food choices and find ways to eat more fruit and vegetables.

They included sport stars, law firms, mayors, tech companies, WA Police, doctors and nurses and those who had lost loved ones to heart disease. A popular WA Police video of support for No Junk November had 18,000 views.

 

For the 30 days of November, participants gave up their key junk food weakness (eg. mid-morning biscuit, afternoon chocolate bar, late night fries) or took the ultimate challenge and gave up all junk food. Team names included “Eat Better, Feel Better”, “It can be done in small steps”, “Step away from the candy” and “You think I can’t, I bet I can”.

Our nutrition expert Nick Nation regularly filmed videos encouraging them and offering healthy eating advice

 

Online social media feeds had many comments from people proud of the heart healthy changes they had made. They included;

* “Went with a friend twice to a fast food outlet today and I ordered nothing”

* “Felt like chips this arvo but I was strong”

* “Our whole house is in…..saving money along the way with no take away”

* “Air popped corn from home is now my party favourite instead of chips”

* “I am going to continue with No Junk food December”

 

High in fat, salt and sugar, overconsumption of easy-to-grab junk food is a problem for everyone of all shapes and sizes.  Not only does it contribute to chronic disease, including overweight and obesity, it contributes to nutrient deficiencies through the displacement of core foods.