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Aussie app to fight two of the nation's biggest killers

Media release: 
18/01/2012

A revolutionary iPhone app launched today will empower Australian shoppers to make healthier food choicesand reduce their risk of dying early from two of the nation’s biggest killers - heart attack and stroke.

In three easy steps, Australian consumers can reduce excessively high levels of fat, salt and sugar in their families’ diets and share shopping lists with friends via social media.

Developed in Australia, and tailored for Australian shoppers, FoodSwitch allows users to scan the barcode of packaged foodsusing their iPhone camera and receive immediate, easy to understand nutritional advice and see healthier choices.

Importantly, the app displays healthier choices based on the nutritional value of more than 20,000 packaged food products found in Australian supermarkets - the result of three years of research by pre-eminent food and health policy experts from The George Institute for Global Health, and launched thanks to a new partnership with Bupa, one of Australia’s leading healthcare organisations.

“FoodSwitch’s three step approach marries the latest technology with cutting edge research. Australians can now scan barcodes, see what’s in a food, and switch to a healthier choice in an instant,” Professor Bruce Neal, Senior Director at The George Institute, said.

Bupa’s Head of Clinical Advisory, Dr Stan Goldstein, said FoodSwitch puts Bupa and The George Institute at the forefront of improvingAustralian families’ diets with a simple, practical tool.

“FoodSwitch comes at a pivotal time in the food labelling debate, with the Federal Government still considering changes towards food labelling systems for Australia,” Dr Goldstein said.

“While the food labelling debate is ongoing, this app uses the best available science to deliver immediate, easy-to-understand nutritional information so users can switch to healthier options now.”

Professor Neal said heart disease, stroke and other diseases caused mostly by a poor diet are the biggest killers in Australia.

“Choosing a healthier diet has to be made easier, because good eating habits are one of the best and most cost-effective ways to prevent disease,” Professor Neal said.

“For too long, people have grappled with confusing food labels. And with FoodSwitch there is no reason why this should continue.”

FoodSwitch ambassador, Olympic swimmer and television host Nicole Livingstone agrees that current food labelling – including front of pack claims and nutrition information panels – makes it incredibly difficult for parents to buy healthier foods.

“As parents, we all want our kids to eat well. However, up until now, it hasn’t been easy to get help in a simple way that lets you make informed food choices for your family,” Ms Livingstone said.

“The best part of the FoodSwitch app is that it takes the guesswork out of shopping by arming consumers with options for healthier products to purchase.” FoodSwitch is available as a free, Australian-only download from the App Store for iPhone 3GS/4/4S and iPad 2 devices. Updates will include versions for Android based devices.

FoodSwitch is one of many apps Bupa has developed with partners to help Australians lead longer, healthier, happier lives, for more information visit the Apple iTunes store or the Bupa website.

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