A new report show the Northern Territory Government has a long way to go to address obesity and create healthier food environments.

The Food Policy Index, developed in 2017, assesses government policies relating to food and diet.

The latest report has found that improving healthy food retail in remote communities is a key priority.

Professor Gary Sacks from Deakin University’s Institute for Health Transformation says the NT Government needs to support efforts to establish a licensing and accreditation scheme for healthy food retail in remote Indigenous communities.

It was also a key recommendation put forward in the 2020 Parliamentary Inquiry into Food Pricing and Food Security in Remote Indigenous Communities.

Results of the Healthy Stores 2020 study, conducted by the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation and Monash University, reducing options of unhealthy foods while increasing healthier options resulted in 1.8 tonnes less sugar being sold from 10 stores over 12 weeks while not impacting store profits.

Professor Sacks says “If this was extrapolated out across all remote stores over a year, the reduction could be as much as 90 tonnes a year, which equates to the weight of 60 medium sized family cars.”

It is estimated that such a reduction in the sugar would lead to a 10 per cent risk reduction in mortality from cardiovascular disease.

ALPA’s nutrition manager, Khia De Silva says “We can only put all the known healthy strategies in place when all stores operating in remote communities are doing the same.”