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FoodSwitch: Aussie app to fight two of the nation’s biggest killers

FoodSwitch: Aussie app to fight two of the nation’s biggest killers

A revolutionary iPhone app launched today will empower Australian shoppers to make healthier food choices and 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 foods using 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 improving Australian 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.

For more information, or to download the app, go to www.bupa.com.au/foodswitch

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Note to Editors

To learn more about The George Institute’s food and health food policy research, visit http://www.georgeinstitute.org.au/our-work/our-work-australia/improving-food-and-health-policy

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 www.bupa.com.au/Apps.

Apple, iPhone and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

For all media inquiries, please contact:

Fionnuala Maye
Porter Novelli on behalf of Bupa
T: +61 2 8987 2100
M: +61 432 797 579
E: fmaye@porternovelli.com.au

Kimberley Ramplin 
Media and Public Relations Officer - The George Institute for Global Health
T: +61 2 8238 2424
M: +61 (0)401 710 679
E: kramplin@georgeinstitute.org.au

About The George Institute for Global Health
Ranked number one research institution in the world for scientific impact in the SCIMago Institutions Report 2011, The George Institute for Global Health is an internationally-recognised health research organisation, undertaking high impact research across a broad health landscape. Affiliated with the University of Sydney, the Institute is a leader in the clinical trials, health policy and capacity-building areas. The Institute has a global network of top medical experts in a range of research fields as well as expertise in research design, project management and data and statistical analysis. With a respected voice among global policy makers, The Institute has attracted significant funding support from governments, philanthropic organisations and corporations. George Institute research is regularly published in the top tier of academic journals internationally.