Dubbo parents and carers of school children are being encouraged to consider healthier food options for children's lunchboxes.
The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is promoting the change to healthier eating through the school program, Live Life Well.
WNSWLHD acting health promotion coordinator for childhood programs Sarah McKay, said "a healthy and balanced school lunch box should contain water and a variety of core food groups; grain, protein, vegetables and fruit. Wholegrain wraps or sandwiches and fresh whole fruit are a great easy choice."
"It can be overwhelming for parents and carers to know what to pack in their kid's lunch boxes.
"There are lots of mixed messages out there and a lot of reasons why parents and carers struggle to pack a healthy lunch box," Ms McKay said.
Ms McKay said children can eat up to one-third of their daily food intake at school, and 'it's important to pack nutritious food to help children stay healthy as well as concentrate, learn and play.'
"Research has shown obesity in early life has immediate health impacts and is linked to a range of health concerns through to adulthood."
As of 2017 school canteens across NSW were made to follow a Healthy School Canteen Strategy, Food and Drink Criteria, which was implemented by the NSW Government.
The strategy came about after the NSW Government released data revealing twenty-two per cent of children aged 5-16 years across NSW in 2015 were classified as overweight or obese.
In the same year, the NSW Government released key targets, one of which was a priority to reduce overweight and obesity by five per cent by 2025.
The strategy encouraged canteens, parents and carers to implement more fruit and vegetable options as well as dairy options such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, and less unhealthy foods and drinks such as cakes, biscuits, sugary drinks and salty snacks.
Parents and carers can review free dietitian-developed websites such as the Make Healthy Normal healthy school lunchbox page or the Cancer Council NSW Healthy Lunchbox builder.
"These websites are a great resource to help parents and carers pack a healthy lunchbox for their children.
"They inform parents and carers about what types of food to include as well as provide plenty of ideas and recipes," Sarah said.