Health and Nutrition in Australia

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Results of the Australian Health Survey can be used to ensure better-targeted measures and messages to substantiate change. The study is chaired by the Department of Health and Ageing, with input from the States and Territories. The Concept and Context. Ongoing reporting, evaluation and dissemination of the benefits of such programs are essential to inspire other local governments to take up the baton. Blood tests show that overweight and obesity increase the risk of abnormal results for nearly all chronic diseases assessed, including cardiovascular and liver diseases, and type 2 diabetes. They are associated with weight gain, dental caries and nutrient deficiencies. The book is divided into the following sections:

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Workplace Health

Read more about our whole-of-organisation approach. Call us on 03 or use the enquiry form below to enquire about including healthy eating in your corporate health program. Why choose Nutrition Australia? High blood sugar levels can lead to poor self-control, and a lower attention span. It can also impair our ability to regulate emotions, cope with stress and prevent aggressive behaviour.

In fact a report by the World Health Organisation 3 says that addressing healthy eating in the workplace is an effective way to reduce BMI and improve risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. We can work with your organisation to implement change across four key domains which collectively influence employee health and productivity. Our approach to promoting healthy eating in the workplace. Our approach to workplace health.

Join Nutrition Australia today for:. Please take a moment to provide your feedback about our site. Other sub-populations experiencing food insecurity at higher rates, include the unemployed, single-parent households, low-income earners, rental households and young people. Certain culturally and linguistically diverse CALD groups, people who do not have access to private or public transport, substance abusers and those who are disabled, elderly or frail are also more susceptible to food insecurity.

A common perception exists that food insecurity is synonymous with hunger and being underweight. The WHO describes three dimensions of food security: This complexity is evident in Australia, where risk of obesity is elevated among those who experience mild to moderate food insecurity. They are associated with weight gain, dental caries and nutrient deficiencies. In Sydney, forty-eight per cent of disposable income is required to purchase a food basket of healthy food for the most disadvantaged sector of the population.

Compare this to the nine per cent of disposable income used to purchase the same foods by individuals in the least disadvantaged sector. In remote communities, the lack of availability and poor quality of fresh produce interplay with affordability to discourage healthy choices.

To address existing cases of overweight and obesity, lifestyle intervention programmes have been shown to be much more beneficial than pharmacological interventions, both financially and socially.

On the other hand, surgery has a negative cost-benefit outcome, as well as physical and emotional side effects. Even without this evidence, the need to restructure the health system to focus on primary prevention and lifestyle interventions is intuitive. In , the proportion of public health expenditure within total health expenditure was 1. Within this, only a small proportion is allocated to addressing poor nutrition and food security.

In contrast, New Zealand ranks first among OECD countries by percentage of spending on prevention in total health care expenditure 6. In Australia, the recently released budget does not improve this logic-defying balance of health-care spending. Ultimately, this could lead to an increase in expensive chronic diseases that may have been prevented by diet and lifestyle intervention. To address the issues of malnutrition, including obesity, in Australia we must first identify the causes.

This objective is surprisingly challenging. Instead of simply blaming individuals or food companies, the interaction of a number of social, cultural and physical factors should also be considered. This is ironic to consider in the light of increasing rates of obesity and overweight. A high intake of these types of foods, combined with a reduction in physical activity levels creates a truly obesogenic environment.

Reducing alcohol intake would undoubtedly result in significant weight loss and reduce the incidence of cancer and chronic disease among Australians. Supplemental vitamins and minerals are often used to compensate for poor diet, with 29 per cent of Australian adults reporting that they regularly took a supplement in NNPAS.

The World Cancer Research Fund recommends achieving nutrition through diet alone however, in light of research that indicates an increased risk of certain cancers with high dose supplement use.

This necessitates a high level of nutrition, analytical and critical skills, as well as motivation, to navigate the modern day food environment. Government action is a key tool in addressing the issues of malnutrition, obesity and food security in Australia.

Policies and strategies, such as the National Preventive Health Research Strategy , released in June , are core elements in attempts to make progress with these issues. Importantly, this strategy highlights the necessity of integrating multiple sectors and professions throughout the research process. Policy should be based on current evidence about optimum nutrition. It should also consider the growing challenges of sustainability and equity to reduce the burden of diet-related death, illness and disability.

Currently, a scoping study is being carried out to inform the development of a new National Nutrition Policy. The study is chaired by the Department of Health and Ageing, with input from the States and Territories. The Nutrition Policy should be finalised in The Food and Health Dialogue is another Federal Government initiative, instigated in , which encourages the food industry to voluntarily reduce the amount of saturated fat, sugar and energy in processed foods.

The Food and Health Dialogue works in quick service restaurants to encourage improved nutritional quality, the education of customers and reduction of portion sizes. A recent evaluation published in the Medical Journal of Australia found that none of the targets set have been fully achieved. Yet, similar programs in the United Kingdom have shown a high level of effectiveness. Differences observed can be attributed to the measurability and meaningfulness of their aims and the strength of government support.

Meaningful policy change and implementation at the federal government level has been rare, in the context of unstable leadership and party changes. Finally released in May , the NFP was shelved in favour of the development of the Agriculture White Paper, following the election of a new Federal government in November Recommendations from the NFP include informing and empowering the community. Logically, this could begin with addressing the low levels of food literacy among Australian children.

Notably, the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program has grown expanded from one school in , to in It teaches primary school children how to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh food.

The success of this program has resulted in a continued Federal government commitment for funding and expansion. These measures may be most successful because of the involvement and support of local government. Healthy Cities Illawarra HCI , a local government initiative, involves innovative measures to create a local and thriving food system, and healthy, active lifestyles.

The initiative includes programmes such as Food. Fairness Illawarra FFI , a kitchen garden network, and peer education projects to improve the food security status of low-income communities. Ongoing reporting, evaluation and dissemination of the benefits of such programs are essential to inspire other local governments to take up the baton. To achieve this requires a groundswell of action among local governments and communities in lieu of currently unreliable top down approaches.

Changes to food labelling will enable consumers to make healthier food choices and the anticipation is that this will motivate the food industry to reformulate food products. The controversial Front of Pack Labelling FoPL project typifies the recurring theme of stagnation at the implementation stage in any strategy involving voluntary or regulated food industry change that may affect profits. With the appointment of a new Oversight Committee, the voluntary period for companies to introduce the labelling system is due to begin in July.

Opposition from the food industry and politicians, however, is ongoing. Meanwhile, the George Institute of Global Health, based at the University of Sydney has produced the FoodSwitch mobile application to aid with food label interpretation.

FoodSwitch has been downloaded over half a million times, showing the eagerness of the Australian public for tools to support informed food choices.

Workplace health (Vic, SA, Tas)