New uni centre to improve nation's diet

Deakin Uni will lead two separate centres of excellence studying healthy food and mental health.
Deakin Uni will lead two separate centres of excellence studying healthy food and mental health.

The merits of removing lollies from supermarket check-outs and using plain packaging on unhealthy foods could be studied by a world-first centre in Victoria for healthy food retail research.

The National Health and Medical Research Council has given Deakin University almost $2.5 million to lead a centre of excellence into food retail environments for health.

The centre aims to build evidence needed to change how people buy food and drink and improve the nation's diet and health.

"Research is urgently needed that demonstrates how healthy food retail can become the new norm for food business by promoting diets that meet national dietary guidelines and are rich in core foods like fruit and vegetables, while reducing excess purchase of discretionary food and drink," Deakin's Institute for Healthcare Transformation director Anna Peeters said.

The university also received almost $2.5 million for a centre of excellence to develop therapies for prevalent mental health disorders including depression and anxiety and $3 million for research fellowships.

Australian Associated Press