The federal government is being urged to introduce a 20 per cent sugar tax as part of a plan to tackle obesity.
An eight-point plan has been released by a coalition of health and community groups designed to tackle the increasing number of Australians who are overweight or obese.
Suggestions include restrictions on TV junk food ads, a national obesity task force and mandatory health star ratings for food packaging by mid 2019 – as well as the tax.
Obesity Policy Coalition executive manager Jane Martin said with 63 per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of children either overweight or obese, it made no sense not to have a national obesity policy.
"Without action, the costs of obesity and poor diet to society will only continue to spiral upwards," she said.
"The policies we have set out to tackle obesity therefore aim to not only reduce morbidity and mortality but also improve wellbeing, bring vital benefits to the economy and set Australians up for a healthier future."
The OPC estimates the annual cost of Australia's weight and obesity problem between 2011 and 2012 was about $8.6 billion, including GP services, hospital care, absenteeism and government subsidies.
But the nation's food and drinks industry has hit back:
"We believe there is no single cause or quick fix solution," a joint statement released by eight major food and drinks groups led by the Australian Food & Grocery Council said on Tuesday.