NACCHO #BackToSchool Aboriginal Children’s Health and #Nutrition : @Apunipima There is more to a healthy lunch than what you eat #RethinkSugaryDrink

” It is important for children to form good habits by choosing healthy drinks from a young age. It’s not only important for children but adults as well, and children are more likely to learn healthy habits if they see the adults around them making healthy choices.

“Water is the best choice, It doesn’t have any sugar in it and it’s free, straight from the tap.Plain milk is also a very good choice with important benefits such as building strong bones and teeth.

Too many sugary drinks can harm our health, by causing weight gain and obesity as well as poor dental health in both children and adults.”

Apunipima’s Community Nutritionist Kani Thompson

 ” The Sugary drinks proper no good – Drink more water Youfla campaign includes access to free water throughout the local community.

‘We’re really worried about the impact of sugar in our area, because of the high rates of overweight and obesity leading to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease,’

Dr Mark Wenitong, senior medical officer at Apunipima Cape York Health Council in Far North Queensland, told newsGP @RACGP

‘What we say in a cultural way is water is not colonised, and it’s not coming from corporates who are trying to make money, Water has been here ever since we’ve been here. Keep drinking it.And see our water story

Watch Wujal Wujal water video HERE

Read over 43 NACCHO articles Health and Nutrition HERE

Read over 20 NACCHO articles Sugar Tax HERE

An apple a day might help keep the doctor away and could also mean better performance at school. One thing that we tend to think less about is the type of drinks that we are having.

As school has started for most Queensland children last week and many interstate today , Apunipima Cape York Health Council wants to remind families that healthy drinks are just as important as healthy food for good health.

Sugary drinks have become popular choices but they have little or no benefit to health. Sugary drinks refers to all drinks with added sugar such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, cordials, sports drinks, and flavoured waters. An alternative to having a ‘popper’ fruit drink or juice is to have a piece of fruit and water as a drink instead – these are much better choices!

Kani said packing healthy drinks with lunches was easy – keep it simple.

“Remember to pack water as the main drink with school lunches. Tetra packs of fruit drinks or juice can be a popular and are an easy drink to add to school lunches, but they have a lot of sugar that growing bodies just don’t need. It’s just as easy to swap them for a water bottle. And adults can take a reusable water bottle to work and keep refilling during the day as needed.”

Too many sugary drinks can harm our health, by causing weight gain and obesity as well as poor dental health in both children and adults.

Top tips for drinking more water at school or work:

  • Take a reusable water bottle that can be refilled
  • Freeze a water bottle the night before to put in school lunch boxes to help keep it cold the next day
  • If you are drinking a lot of sugary drinks start by swapping one for water
  • Drink water before you feel thirsty.

Apunipima is currently leading the ‘Sugary Drinks Proper No Good – Drink More Water Youfla’ social marketing campaign to promote key healthy messages around drinking water.

A series of videos have been developed with three Cape York communities to promote water as the drink of choice. The social marketing campaign is part of a larger project that involves a range of activities in the communities, that include adults and school aged children.

Apunipima is a partner with the Rethink Sugary Drink Alliance to increase awareness, and to tackle high consumption of sugary drinks which has led to overweight and obesity, an increased risk of chronic diseases and, poor dental health.

For more information on sugary drinks and drinking more water go to


Excessive sugar consumption is a major health problem in many remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia.

News teaser

The Sugary drinks proper no good – Drink more water Youfla campaign includes access to free water throughout the local community.

‘We’re really worried about the impact of sugar in our area, because of the high rates of overweight and obesity leading to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease,’ Dr Mark Wenitong, senior medical officer at Apunipima Cape York Health Council in Far North Queensland, told newsGP.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today consume 15 g more free sugars on average than non-Indigenous Australians, with the majority of the excess coming in the form of sweetened beverages.

In response to this situation, the Apunipima Cape York Health Council launched its public health campaign, Sugary drinks proper no good – Drink more water Youfla, in November. The campaign uses a variety of channels to raise awareness, with language designed to resonate with the target demographic.

‘The language came from our Aboriginal health workers,’ Dr Wenitong said. ‘We are trying to get the message into the communities in a number of ways, from primary healthcare clinics, through GPs and health workers; through radio and TV ads; and also through social media.

‘[Social media] is the big one these days, because most people in remote communities have mobile devices and are pretty avid users of social media.’

In remote populations such as Cape York, some of the increased consumption of sweetened beverages can be attributed to the challenges presented by the logistics of a remote location.

‘Our area is tropical and remote, so there’s not a lot of infrastructure around with constant access to cool water, and we have lot of hot weather so people are always looking for a cold drink, particularly in summer,’ Dr Wenitong said.

‘If all that is around is soft drinks, that’s what people are going to go for.’

Dr Wenitong also believes there is a historical basis for sugar consumption among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

‘Back in the day when [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples] were consigned to missions, they were fed white sugar, white flour, white tea. That was their staple diet,’ he said. ‘That’s why, I think, we’ve got this long history of having a poor diet, leading to a lot of the chronic diseases we have today.’

The Sugary drinks proper no good – Drink more water Youfla campaign also has a practical component in order to ensure its message is actually achievable.

‘[That involves] making sure there’s water coolers outside the store, free water in the schools, handing out free bottles that people can refill with water and keep with them,’ Dr Wenitong said.

While the message of the campaign is simple and straightforward – just drink water – Dr Wenitong believes GPs can also use it to highlight a range of other positive health messages.

‘When you’re using self-management techniques, you’re really asking patients what’s most important in their lives and then hanging on that some of the things you know are healthy for them,’ Dr Wenitong said.

‘If it’s, “I really want to lose weight” they can say “One of the ways we can help you with that is to drink more water and drink less sugary drinks”; if it’s “I want to improve my dentition” they can say “Well, swap the lollies and soft drinks for water and healthier things, like fruit”.’

Dr Wenitong hopes the campaign will have a positive effect on the health of his community and his people.

‘What we say in a cultural way is water is not colonised, and it’s not coming from corporates who are trying to make money,’ he said. ‘Water has been here ever since we’ve been here. Keep drinking it.’

Amanda Lyons Amanda is an experienced health journalist and a newsGP staff writer

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @strokefdn @HeartAust New Year’s resolutions : For your health in 2018 have your blood pressure checked , it could save your life. #FightStroke


 ” We hear so much at this time of year about New Year’s resolutions – eat healthy, quit smoking, get more exercise, drink more water. The list goes on and on and on. 

While these are all valid and well intentioned goals, I am urging you to do one simple thing for your health in 2018 which could save your life. 

Have your blood pressure checked.  

High blood pressure is a key risk factor for stroke and one that can be managed.”

By Stroke Foundation Clinical Council Chair Associate Professor Bruce Campbell see full Press Release Part 1 WEBSITE

NACCHO has published 48 Aboriginal Health and Heart  Articles in the past 6 Years

NACCHO has published 86 Aboriginal Health and Stroke Articles in the past 6 Years

  ” High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is a major risk factor for stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease, deteriorating vision and peripheral vascular disease leading to leg ulcers and gangrene.

Major risk factors for high blood pressure include increasing age, poor diet (particularly high salt intake), obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and insufficient physical activity . A number of these risk factors are more prevalent among Indigenous Australians

Based on both measured and self-reported data from the 2012–13 Health Survey, 27% of Indigenous adults had high blood pressure.

Rates increased with age and were higher in remote areas (34%) than non-remote areas (25%).

Twenty per cent of Indigenous adults had current measured high blood pressure.

Of these adults, 21% also reported diagnosed high blood pressure.

Most Indigenous Australians with measured high blood pressure (79%) did not know they had the condition; this proportion was similar among non-Indigenous Australians.

Therefore, there are a number of Indigenous adults with undiagnosed high blood pressure who are unlikely to be receiving appropriate medical advice and treatment.

The proportion of Indigenous adults with measured high blood pressure who did not report a diagnosed condition decreased with age and was higher in non-remote areas (85%) compared with remote areas (65%).

PMC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2014 Report see extracts below PART 2 or in full HERE

Closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who experience and die from cardiovascular disease at much higher rates than other Australians. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, when compared with other Australians, are:

  • 1.3 times as likely to have cardiovascular disease (1)
  • three times more likely to have a major coronary event, such as a heart attack (2)
  • more than twice as likely to die in hospital from coronary heart disease (2)
  • 19 times as likely to die from acute rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart Disease (3)
  • more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, be obese, have diabetes and have end-stage renal disease.(3)

From Heart Foundation website

Find your nearest ACCHO download the NACCHO FREE APP

ACCHO’s focusing on primary prevention through risk assessment, awareness and early identification and secondary prevention through medication.

Download the NACCHO App HERE

High blood pressure is a silent killer because there are no obvious signs or symptoms, the only way to know is to ask your ACCHO GP for regular check-ups.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the greatest preventable risk factors that contributes significantly to the cardiovascular disease burden.

The good news is that hypertension can be controlled through lifestyle modification and in more serious cases by blood pressure-lowering medications.”

Part 1 Stroke Foundation Press Release Continued :

A simple step to prevent stroke in 2018

Stroke is a devastating disease that will impact one in six of us. There is one stroke every nine minutes in Australia. Stroke attacks the human control centre – the brain – it happens in an instant and changes lives forever.

In 2018 it’s estimated there will be more than 56,000 strokes across the country. Stroke will kill more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer this year.

But the good news is that it does not need to be this way. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, and research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48 percent) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.

Around 4.1 million of us have high blood pressure and many of us don’t realise it. Unfortunately, high blood pressure has no symptoms. The only way to know if it is a health issue for you is by having it checked by your doctor or local pharmacist.

Make having regular blood pressure checks a priority for 2018. Include a blood pressure check in your next GP visit or trip to the shops. Be aware of your stroke risk and take steps to manage it. Do it for yourself and do it for your family.

If you think you are too young to suffer a stroke, think again. One in three people who has a stroke is of working age.

Health and fitness is big business. But before you fork out big bucks on a personal trainer or diet plan this year, do something simple and have your blood pressure checked.

It will only take five minutes, it’s non-invasive and it could save your life.

Declaration of Interest : Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media Editor ( A stroke Survivor) was a board member and Chair of Stoke Foundation Consumer Council 2016-17

Part 2 PMC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2014 Report  or in full HERE

In 2012–13, 10% of Indigenous adults reported they had a diagnosed high blood pressure condition.

Of these, 18% did not have measured high blood pressure and therefore are likely to be managing their condition.

Indigenous males were more likely to have high measured blood pressure (23%) than females (18%).

The survey showed that an additional 36% of Indigenous adults had pre-hypertension (blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/90 mmHg).

This condition is a signal of possibly developing hypertension requiring early intervention. In 2012–13, after adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, Indigenous adults were 1.2 times as likely to have high measured blood pressure as non-Indigenous adults.

For Indigenous Australians, rates started rising at younger ages and the largest gap was in the 35–44 year age group. Analysis of the 2012–13 Health Survey found a number of associations between socio-economic status and measured and/or self-reported high blood pressure.

Indigenous Australians living in the most relatively disadvantaged areas were 1.3 times as likely to have high blood pressure (28%) as those living in the most relatively advantaged areas (22%).

Indigenous Australians reporting having completed schooling to Year 9 or below were 2.1 times as likely to have high blood pressure (38%) as those who completed Year 12 (18%).

Additionally, those with obesity were 2 times as likely to have high blood pressure (37% vs 18%). Those reporting fair/poor health were 1.8 times as likely as those reporting excellent/very good/good health to be have high blood pressure (41% vs 22%).

Those reporting having diabetes were 2.2 times as likely to have high blood pressure (51% vs 23%), as were those reporting having kidney disease (57% vs 26%). One study in selected remote communities found high blood pressure rates 3–8 times the general population (Hoy et al. 2007).

Most diagnosed cases of high blood pressure are managed by GPs or medical specialists. When hospitalisation occurs it is usually due to cardiovascular complications resulting from uncontrolled chronic blood pressure elevation.

During the two years to June 2013, hospitalisation rates for hypertensive disease were 2.4 times as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as for non-Indigenous Australians. Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, hospitalisation rates started rising at younger ages with the greatest difference in the 55–64 year age group.

This suggests that high blood pressure is more severe, occurs earlier, and is not controlled as well for Indigenous Australians.

As a consequence, severe disease requiring acute care in hospital is more common. GP survey data collected from April 2008 to March 2013 suggest that high blood pressure represented 4% of all problems managed by GPs among Indigenous Australians.

After adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, rates for the management of high blood pressure among Indigenous Australians were similar to those for other Australians.

In December 2013, Australian Government-funded Indigenous primary health care organisations provided national Key Performance Indicators data on around 28,000 regular clients with Type 2 diabetes.

In the six months to December 2013, 64% of these clients had their blood pressure assessed and 44% had results in the recommended range (AIHW 2014w).


The prevalence of measured high blood pressure among Indigenous adults was estimated as 1.2 times as high as for non-Indigenous adults and hospitalisation rates were 2.4 times as high, but high blood pressure accounted for a similar proportion of GP consultations for each population.

This suggests that Indigenous Australians are less likely to have their high blood pressure diagnosed and less likely to have it well controlled given the similar rate of GP visits and higher rate of hospitalisation due to cardiovascular complications.

Research into the effectiveness of quality improvement programmes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care services has demonstrated that blood pressure control can be improved by a well-coordinated and systematic approach to chronic disease management (McDermott et al. 2004).

Identification and management of hypertension requires access to primary health care with appropriate systems for the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and systemic approaches to health assessments and chronic illness management.

The Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme, which commenced 1 July 2014, provides for better chronic disease prevention and management through expanded access to and coordination of comprehensive primary health care.

Initiatives provided through this programme include nationwide tobacco reduction and healthy lifestyle promotion activities, a care coordination and outreach workforce based in Medicare Locals and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and GP, specialist and allied health outreach services serving urban, rural and remote communities, all of which can be used to diagnose and assist Indigenous Australians with high blood pressure.

Additionally, the Australian Government provides GP health assessments for Indigenous Australians under the MBS, of which blood pressure measurement is one key element, with follow-on care and incentive payments for improved management, and cheaper medicines through the PBS.

The Australian Government-funded ESSENCE project ‘essential service standards’ articulates what elements of care are necessary to reduce disparity for Indigenous Australians for high blood pressure.

This includes recommendations focusing on primary prevention through risk assessment, awareness and early identification and secondary prevention through medication.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health @VACCHO_org @Apunipima join major 2018 health groups campaign @Live Lighter #RethinkSugaryDrink launching ad showing heavy health cost of cheap $1 frozen drinks


“A cheeky, graphic counter-campaign taking on cheap frozen drink promotions like $1 Slurpees and Frozen Cokes has hit Victorian bus and tram stops to urge Australians to rethink their sugary drink. 

Rather than tempt viewers with a frosty, frozen drink, the “Don’t Be Sucked In” campaign from LiveLighter and Rethink Sugary Drink, an alliance of 18 leading health agencies, shows a person sipping on a large cup of bulging toxic fat. “

NACCHO has published over 150 various articles about sugar , obesity etc

Craig Sinclair, Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Public Health Committee, said while this graphic advertisement isn’t easy to look at, it clearly illustrates the risks of drinking too many sugary drinks.

“Frozen drinks in particular contain ridiculous amounts of added sugar – even more than a standard soft drink.”

“A mega $3 Slurpee contains more than 20 teaspoons of sugar.

That’s the same amount of sugar as nearly eight lemonade icy poles, and more than three times the maximum recommended by the World Health Organisation of six teaspoons a dayi.”

“At this time of year it’s almost impossible to escape the enormous amount of advertising and promotions for frozen drink specials on TV, social media and public transport,” Mr Sinclair said.

“These cheap frozen drinks might seem refreshing on a hot day, but we want people to realise they could easily be sucking down an entire week’s worth of sugar in a single sitting.”

A large frozen drink from most outlets costs just $1 – a deal that major outlets like 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, Hungry Jacks and KFC promote heavily.

LiveLighter campaign manager and dietitian Alison McAleese said drinking a large Slurpee every day this summer could result in nearly 2kg of weight gain in a year if these extra kilojoules aren’t burnt

“This summer, Aussies could be slurping their way towards weight gain, obesity and toxic fat, increasing their risk of 13 types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart and kidney disease, stroke and tooth decay,” Ms McAleese said.

“When nearly two thirds of Aussie adults and a third of kids are overweight or obese, it’s completely irresponsible for these companies to be actively promoting excessive consumption of drinks completely overloaded with sugar.

“And while this campaign focuses on the weight-related health risks, we can’t ignore the fact that sugary drinks are also a leading cause of tooth decay in Australia, with nearly half of children aged 2– 16 drinking soft drink every day.ii 

“We’re hoping once people realise just how unhealthy these frozen drinks are, they consider looking to other options to cool off.

“Water is ideal, but even one lemonade icy pole, with 2.7tsp of sugar, is a far better option than a Slurpee or Frozen Coke.”

Mr Sinclair said a health levy on sugary drinks is one of the policy tools needed to help address the growing impact of weight and diet-related health problems in Australia.

“Not only can a 20% health levy help deter people from these cheap and very unhealthy drinks, it will help recover some of the significant costs associated with obesity and the increasing burden this puts on our public health care system,” he said.

This advertising will hit bus and tram stops around Victoria this week and will run for two weeks. #



About LiveLighter: LiveLighter® is a public health education campaign encouraging Australian adults to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink, and being more active.

In Victoria, the campaign is delivered by Cancer Council Victoria and Heart Foundation Victoria. In Western Australia, LiveLighter is delivered by Heart Foundation WA and Cancer Council WA.

For more healthy tips, recipes and advice visit

About Rethink Sugary Drink: Rethink Sugary Drink is a partnership between the Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Australian Dental Association, Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists’ Association, Cancer Council Australia, Dental Health Services Victoria, Dental Hygienists Association of Australia, Diabetes Australia, Healthier Workplace WA, Kidney Health Australia, LiveLighter, The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation, Nutrition Australia, Obesity Policy Coalition, Stroke Foundation, Parents’ Voice, the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the YMCA to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage Australians to reduce their consumption.

Visit for more information.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Junkfood #Sugarydrinks #Sugartax @AMAPresident says Advertising and marketing of #junkfood and #sugarydrinks to children should be banned


 ” Poor nutrition has been linked to the reduced health outcomes experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, contributing to conditions known to disproportionately affect this population, including type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and some cancers.

Twenty two per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in a household that has, in the past 12 months, run out of food and not been able to purchase more. Food insecurity increases for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who live in remote areas.

Efforts to Close the Gap must recognise the potential impacts of improved nutrition on health outcomes, as well as the implications of food insecurity “

AMA Position Statement on Nutrition 2018

Download AMA Position Statement on Nutrition 2018

Advertising and marketing of junk food and sugary drinks to children should be banned, and a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages should be introduced as a matter of priority, the AMA says.

Releasing the AMA Position Statement on Nutrition 2018, AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today that eating habits and attitudes toward food are established in early childhood.

“Improving the nutrition and eating habits of Australians must become a priority for all levels of government,” Dr Gannon said.

“Governments should consider the full complement of measures available to them to support improved nutrition, from increased nutrition education and food literacy programs through to mandatory food fortification, price signals to influence consumption, and restrictions on food and beverage advertising to children.

“Eating habits and attitudes start early, and if we can establish healthy habits from the start, it is much more likely that they will continue throughout adolescence and into adulthood.

“The AMA is alarmed by the continued, targeted marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks to children.

“Children are easily influenced, and this marketing – which takes place across all media platforms, from radio and television to online, social media, and apps – undermines healthy food education and makes eating junk food seem normal.

“Advertising and marketing unhealthy food and drink to children should be prohibited altogether, and the loophole that allows children to be exposed to junk food and alcohol advertising during coverage of sporting events must be closed.

“The food industry claims to subscribe to a voluntary code, but the reality is that this kind of advertising is increasing. The AMA calls on the food industry to stop this practice immediately.”

The Position Statement also calls for increased nutrition education and support to be provided to new or expecting parents, and notes that good nutrition during pregnancy is also vital.

It recognises that eating habits can be affected by practices at institutions such as child care centres, schools, hospitals, and aged care homes.

“Whether people are admitted to hospital or just visiting a friend or family member, they can be very receptive to messages from doctors and other health workers about healthy eating,” Dr Gannon said.

“Hospitals and other health facilities must provide healthy food options for residents, visitors, and employees.

“Vending machines containing sugary drinks and unhealthy food options should be removed from all health care settings, and replaced with machines offering only healthy options.

“Water should be the default beverage option, including at fast food restaurants in combination meals where soft drinks are typically provided as the beverage.”

NACCHO Campaign 2013 : We should health advice from the fast food industry !

Key Recommendations:

·         Advertising and marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children to be prohibited.

·         Water to be provided as the default beverage option, and a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to be introduced.

·         Healthy foods to be provided in all health care settings, and vending machines containing unhealthy food and drinks to be removed.

·         Better food labelling to improve consumers’ ability to distinguish between naturally occurring and added sugars.

·         Regular review and updating of national dietary guidelines and associated clinical guidelines to reflect new and emerging evidence.

·         Continued uptake of the Health Star Rating system, as well as refinement to ensure it provides shoppers with the most pertinent information.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Food insecurity

Food insecurity occurs when people have difficulty or are unable to access appropriate amounts of food.13

It has been estimated that four per cent of Australians experience food insecurity,14 though it is likely the extent of the problem is much higher.

Food insecurity is associated with a range of factors, including unstable living situations, geographic isolation and poor health.

It is more prevalent in already disadvantaged communities. In households with limited incomes, food budgets can be seen as discretionary and less of a priority.

This can result in disrupted eating habits and an over-reliance on less nutritious foods.

Food insecurity can have significant health implications, such as increased hospitalisation and iron deficiency anemia (in children) and increased kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and mental health issues (among adolescents and adults).

Poor nutrition has been linked to the reduced health outcomes experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, contributing to conditions known to disproportionately affect this population, including type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and some cancers.16

Twenty two per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in a household that has, in the past 12 months, run out of food and not been able to purchase more. Food insecurity increases for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who live in remote areas.17

Efforts to Close the Gap must recognise the potential impacts of improved nutrition on health outcomes, as well as the implications of food insecurity. The development and implementation of potential solutions must be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The nutrition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote communities may be heavily dependent on Outback Stores. The 2009 Parliamentary Inquiry ‘Everybody’s Business: Remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Community Stores’ resulted in a number of practical recommendations to increase the availability and affordability of healthy foods in Outback Stores, many of which have not been implemented.


These Stores, in consultation with local communities, should prioritise and facilitate access to affordable nutritious foods.

The AMA Position Statement on Nutrition 2018 is available at


NACCHO Aboriginal #ChooseHealth wishes you a very Healthy Xmas and #sugarfree 2018 New Year #SugaryDrinksProperNoGood

 ”  This campaign is straightforward – sugary drinks are no good for our health.It’s calling on people to drink water instead of sugary drinks.’

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Cape York and throughout all our communities experience a disproportionate burden of chronic disease compared to other Australians.’

‘Regular consumption of sugary drinks is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. It is well established that obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and some cancers. Consumption of sugary drinks is also associated with poor dental health.

Water is the best drink for everyone – it doesn’t have any sugar and keeps our bodies healthy.’

Apunipima Public Health Advisor Dr Mark Wenitong

WATCH Apunipima Video HERE

“We tell ‘em kids drink more water; stop the sugar. It’s good for all us mob”

Read over 30 NACCHO articles Health and Nutrition HERE

 ” Let’s be honest, most countries and communities (and especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders ) now face serious health challenges from obesity.

Even more concerning, so do our kids.

While no single mission will be the panacea to a complex problem, using 2017 to set a new healthy goal of giving sugar the kick would be a great start.

Understand sugar, be aware of it, minimise it and see it for what it is – a special treat for a rare occasion.

This New Year’s, make breaking up with sugar your planned resolution.

“Hey sugar – it’s not me, it’s you…”

Alessandro R Demaio  Global Health Doctor; Co-Founded NCDFREE & festival21; Assoc. Researcher, University of Copenhagen and NACCHO supporter ( First Published 2016 see in full below )


We recommend the Government establish obesity prevention as a national priority, with a national taskforce, sustained funding and evaluation of key measures including:

  • Laws to stop exposure of children to unhealthy food and drink marketing on free to air television until 9.30 pm
  • Mandatory healthy food star rating from July 2019 along with stronger food reformulation targets
  • A national activity strategy to promote walking, cycling and public transport use
  • A 20 per cent health levy on sugary drinks

Australia enjoys enviable health outcomes but that is unlikely to last if we continue to experience among the world’s highest levels of obesity.

 CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells

NACCHO Aboriginal #HealthStarRating and #Nutrition @KenWyattMP Free healthy choices food app will dial up good tucker

” Weight gain spikes sharply during the Christmas and New Year holiday period with more than half of the weight we gain during our lifetime explained just by the period between mid-November and mid-January.

Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA

 ” Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

The study used computer modelling to simulate daily activities like food and beverage shopping of the populations of three U.S. cities – Baltimore, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

It found that warning labels in locations that sell sugary drinks, including grocery and corner stores, reduced both obesity and overweight prevalence in the three cities, declines that the authors say were attributable to the reduced caloric intake.

The virtual warning labels contained messaging noting how added sugar contributes to tooth decay, obesity and diabetes.

The findings, which were published online December 14 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, demonstrates how warning labels can result in modest but statistically significant reductions in sugary drink consumption and obesity and overweight prevalence.”

Diabetes Queensland : Warning labels can help reduce sugary drinks consumption and obesity, new study suggests


Global recognition is building for the very real health concerns posed by large and increasing quantities of hidden sugar in our diets. This near-ubiquitous additive found in products from pasta sauces to mayonnaise has been in the headlines and in our discussions.

The seemingly innocuous sweet treat raises eyebrows from community groups to policy makers – and change is in the air.

Let’s review some of the sugar-coated headers from 2016 :

  • The global obesity epidemic continued to build while more than two-in-three Australian adults faced overweight or obesity – and almost one in four of our children.
  • Science around sugary drinks further solidified, with consumption now linked to obesity, childhood obesity, heart disease, diabetes (type-2), dental caries and even lower fertility.
  • Australians were estimated to consume a staggering 76 litres of sugary drinks each since January alone, and new reports highlighted that as much as 15% of the crippling health costs associated with obesity could result from sugary drinks consumption.
  • Meanwhile around the planet, more countries took sound policy measures to reduce sugar consumption in their citizens. France, Belgium, Hungary, Finland, Chile, the UK, Ireland, South Africa and many parts of the United States implemented, continued or planned the implementation of pricing policies for sugary drinks.

In short, the over-consumption of sugar is now well recognised as a public health challenge everywhere.

With all this in mind and a New Year ahead, it’s time to put big words into local action. With resolutions brewing, here are seven helpful tips to breaking up with sugar in 2017.

1. Understand sugar

When it comes to sugar, things can get pretty confusing. Below, I shed some light on the common misunderstandings, but let’s recheck sugar itself – in simplest terms.

Sugar is a type of refined carbohydrate and a source of calories in our diet. Our body uses sugar and other sources of calories as energy, and any sugar that is not used is eventually stored as fat in our liver or on our bellies.

“Free sugars” are those added to products or concentrated in the products – either by us or by the manufacturer. They don’t include sugars in whole fruits and vegetables, but more on that later. For a range of health reasons, the World Health Organization recommends we get just 5% of our daily calories from free sugars. For a fully grown man or woman, this equates to a recommended limit to sugar consumption of roughly 25 grams – or 6 teaspoons. For women, it’s a little less again.

Consume more than this, and our risk of health problems rises.

2. Quit soft drinks

With 16 teaspoons of sugar in a single bottle serving – that’s more than 64 grams – there’s nothing “soft” about soft drinks. Including all carbonated drinks, flavoured milks and energy drinks with any added sugars, as well as fruit drinks and juices, sugary drinks are a great place to focus your efforts for a healthier 2018. Sugary drinks provide no nutritional value to our diets and yet are a major source of calories.


What’s more concerning, evidence suggests that when we drink calories in the form of sugary drinks, our brains don’t recognise these calories in the same way as with foods. They don’t make us feel “full” and could even make us hungrier – so we end up eating (and drinking) more. In this way, liquid calories can be seen as even more troubling than other forms of junk foods. Combine this with studies that suggest the pleasure (and sugar spike) provided by sugary drinks may make them hard to give up – and it’s not difficult to see why many of us are drinking higher amounts, more often and in larger servings. This also makes cutting down harder.

The outcome is that anything up to one-seventh of the entire public cost of obesity in Australia could now result from sugary drinks. In other words, cut out the sugary drinks and you’ll be doing your own health a favour – and the health of our federal and state budgets.

3. Eat fruit, not juice

When it’s wrapped in a peel or a skin, fruit sugars are not a challenge to our health. In fact, the sugars in fruit are nature’s way of encouraging us to eat the fruit to begin with. Fruits like oranges, apples and pears contain important fibres. The “roughage” in our foods, this fibre is healthy in many ways but there are three in particular I will focus on. First, it slows our eating down; it is easy to drink a glass of juice squeezed from 7 apples, but much harder to eat those seven pieces whole. Second, it makes us feel full or satiated. And third, it slows the release of the sugars contained in fruit into our blood streams, thus allowing our bodies to react and use the energy appropriately, reducing our chances of weight gain and possibly even diabetes.

Juice, on the other hand, involves the removal of most of those fibres and even the loss of some of the important vitamins. What we don’t lose though, is the 21 grams or more than five teaspoons of sugar in each glass.

In short, eat fruit as a snack with confidence. But enjoy whole fruit, not juice.

4. Sugar by any other name

High-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, malt sugar and molasses – they all mean one thing: sugar.

As the public awakens to the health challenges posed by sugar, the industry turns to new ways to confuse consumers and make ‘breaking up’ more difficult. One such way is to use the many alternative names for sugar – instead of the ‘s’ word itself. Be on the lookout for:

Evaporated cane juice, golden syrup, malt syrup, sucrose, fruit juice concentrate, dextrose and more…

5. Eat whole foods where possible

Tomato sauce, mayonnaise, salad dressings, gravies, taco sauces, savoury biscuits and breakfast cereals – these are just some of the many foods now often packed with hidden, added sugars.

A study found that 74% of packaged foods in an average American supermarket contain added sugars – and there is little evidence to suggest Australia would be dramatically different. Added to food to make it more enjoyable, and moreish, the next tip when avoiding such a ubiquitous additive is to eat whole foods.

It’s hard to hide sugar in plain flour, or a tomato, or frozen peas. Buying and cooking with mostly whole foods – not products – is a great way to ensure you and your family are not consuming added sugars unaware.

6. See beyond (un)healthy claims

Words like “wholesome”, “natural” and “healthy” are clad on many of our favourite ingredients. Sadly, they don’t mean much.

Even products that are full of sugar, like breakfast cereals and energy bars, often carry claims that aim to confuse and seduce us into purchase. Be wary – and be sure to turn the package over and read the ingredients and nutrition labelling where possible (and if time permits).

7. Be okay with sometimes

The final but crucial message in all of this is that eating or drinking sugar is not a sin. Sugar is still a part of our lives and something to enjoy in moderation. The occasional piece of cake, or late night chocolate – despite the popular narrative painted by industry to undermine efforts for true pricing on sugar – these occasional sweet treats are not the driving challenge for obesity. The problem is that sugary drinks, and sugar in our foods, have become every day occurrences.

With this in mind, let’s not demonise sugar but instead let’s see it for what it is. Enjoy some juice or bubbles from time to time but make water the default on an everyday basis. With the average can of cola containing 39 grams or 9 teaspoons of sugar, be OK with sometimes.

Bitter truth

Let’s be honest, We now face serious health challenges from obesity.

Even more concerning, so do our kids.

Learn more about our ACCHO making Deadly Choices


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Obesity : Download #TippingtheScales Report Leading health orgs set out 8 urgent actions for Federal Government

“Sixty-three per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of our children are overweight or obese.

This is not surprising when you look at our environment – our kids are bombarded with advertising for junk food, high-sugar drinks are cheaper than water, and sugar and saturated fat are hiding in so-called ‘healthy’ foods. Making a healthy choice has never been more difficult.

The annual cost of overweight and obesity in Australia in 2011-12 was estimated to be $8.6 billion in direct and indirect costs such as GP services, hospital care, absenteeism and government subsidies.1 “

 OPC Executive Manager Jane Martin 

Download the report HERE  tipping-the-scales

Read over 30 + NACCHO Obesity articles published last 5 years

Read over 30+ NACCHO Nutrition and Healthy foods published last 5 years

Thirty-four leading community, public health, medical and academic groups have today united for the first time to call for urgent Federal Government action to address Australia’s serious obesity problem.

In the ground-breaking new action plan, Tipping the Scales, the agencies identify eight clear, practical, evidence-based actions the Australian Federal Government must take to reduce the enormous strain excess weight and poor diets are having on the nation’s physical and economic health.

Led by the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) and Deakin University’s Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE), Tipping the Scales draws on national and international recommendations to highlight where action is required. Areas include:

  1. Time-based restrictions on TV junk food advertising to kids
  2. Set clear food reformulation targets
  3. Make the Health Star Rating mandatory by July 2019
  4. Develop a national active transport strategy
  5. Fund weight-related public education campaigns
  6. Introduce a 20% health levy on sugary drinks
  7. Establish a national obesity taskforce
  8. Develop and monitor national diet, physical activity and weight guidelines.

OPC Executive Manager Jane Martin said the eight definitive policy actions in Tipping the Scales addressed the elements of Australia’s environment which set individuals and families up for unhealthy lifestyles, rather than just focusing on treating the poor health outcomes associated with obesity.

Watch video HERE : How does junk food marketing influence kids

“Sixty-three per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of our children are overweight or obese. This is not surprising when you look at our environment – our kids are bombarded with advertising for junk food, high-sugar drinks are cheaper than water, and sugar and saturated fat are hiding in so-called ‘healthy’ foods. Making a healthy choice has never been more difficult,” Ms Martin said.

“The annual cost of overweight and obesity in Australia in 2011-12 was estimated to be $8.6 billion in direct and indirect costs such as GP services, hospital care, absenteeism and government subsidies.1 But Australia still has no strategy to tackle our obesity problem. It just doesn’t make sense.

“Without action, the costs of obesity and poor diet to society will only continue to spiral upwards. 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.”

Professor of Epidemiology and Equity in Public Health at Deakin University, Anna Peeters, said the 34 groups behind the report were refusing to let governments simply sit back and watch as growing numbers of Australians developed life-threatening weight and diet-related health problems.

“For too long we have been sitting and waiting for obesity to somehow fix itself. In the obesogenic environment in which we live, this is not going to happen. In fact, if current trends continue, there will be approximately 1.75 million deaths in people over the age of 20 years caused by diseases linked to overweight and obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer heart disease, between 2011-20501,” Professor Peeters said.

“Obesity poses such an immense threat to Australia’s physical and economic health that it needs its own, standalone prevention strategy if progress is to be made. There are policies which have been proven to work in other parts of the world and have the potential to work here, but they need to be implemented as part of a comprehensive approach by governments. And they need to be implemented now.

“More than thirty leading organisations have agreed on eight priorities needed to tackle obesity in Australia. We would like to work with the Federal Government to tackle this urgent issue and integrate these actions as part of a long-term coordinated approach.”

In addition to the costs to society, the burden of obesity is felt acutely by individuals and their families.

As a Professor of Women’s Health at Monash University and a physician, Professor Helena Teede sees mothers struggle daily with trying to achieve and sustain healthy lifestyles for themselves and their families, while having to deal with the adverse impact of unhealthy weight, especially during pregnancy.

“As a mother’s weight before pregnancy increases, so does the substantive health risk to both the mother and baby. Excess weight gain during pregnancy further adds to these risks and is a key driver of infertility, long-term obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, while for the child, their risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing chronic diseases in later life greatly increases,” Professor Teede said.

“The women I see are generally desperate for help to improve their lifestyle and that of their families. They want to set themselves and their families up for healthy, long lives.

“Currently, there is a lot of blame placed on individuals with unhealthy diets and lifestyles seen as being due to individual and family discipline. Women from all backgrounds and walks of life struggle with little or no support to achieve this. It is vital that we as a community progress beyond placing all responsibility on the individual and work towards creating a policy context and a society that supports healthy choices and tips the scales towards obesity prevention to give Australian families a healthy start to life.”

The calls to action outlined in Tipping the Scales are endorsed by the following organisations: Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (which includes the Heart Foundation, Cancer Council Australia, Kidney Health Australia, Diabetes Australia and the Stroke Foundation), Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC), Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS), Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute, CHOICE, Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Deakin University’s Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE), Institute For Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Monash Centre for Health, Research and Implementation (MCHRI), LiveLighter, Menzies School of Health Research, The University of Melbourne’s Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, Melbourne Children’s (which includes The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne), the National Rural Health Alliance Inc, Nutrition Australia, Obesity Australia, Obesity Policy Coalition, Obesity Surgery Society of Australia & New Zealand, Parents’ Voice, Public Health Association of Australia and Sugar By Half.

Download the Tipping the Scales action plan and snapshot at

1. Obesity Australia. Obesity: Its impact on Australia and a case for action. No time to Weight 2. Sydney, 2015.

Aboriginal Health Lifestyle Campaigns : Minister @KenWyattMP investing in #DeadlyRoos partnership, a Community Controlled initiative. #DeadlyChoices

“Deadly Choices is what I like to call a ‘jewel in the crown’ of Indigenous health, achieving some stunning results since it kicked off in South East Queensland four years ago.

The Deadly Kangaroos is an expansion of this program, using the star power of the ambassadors and the excitement of this year’s World Cup to reach more even communities.

Our national rugby league stars need to be in peak physical condition to play at the top of their game and we appreciate the players’ support to start discussions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about ways to improve their health “

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said legendary Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga and other Indigenous and non-Indigenous players would become ambassadors for the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health’s Deadly Choices program, to extend its reach across Australia.

The launch in Canberra was attended by the NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke (pictured on right )

Members of the elite Australian Kangaroos Rugby League 2017 World Cup squad will headline the expansion of a successful grassroots campaign to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Deadly Choices is a community-based health lifestyle campaign launched in 2013.

There is particular focus on young people and the importance of exercise, education, school attendance, quitting smoking and regular preventive health checks.

Through media campaigns, sports carnivals and community events it has prompted:

    • Almost 19,000 annual health checkups in South East Queensland
    • Active patient numbers to triple to over 330,000
    • 1,155 smoke-free household pledges
    • More than 3,300 smoker interventions

“Experience shows that sport and sporting legends can help communities kick major goals in health awareness and foster real change,” the Minister said.

“I encourage everyone to support Australia in the World Cup in October, just as the Kangaroos are supporting better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and all Australians.”

The ambassadors will make appearances at game day events as the Australian team travels through the ACT, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and regional Queensland for the World Cup.

“Key ambassadors for the Deadly Kangaroos are Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis,” the Minister said. “Also, the best three players from the national men’s and women’s teams at the Arthur Beetson Deadly Choices Murri Rugby League carnival will also be chosen as community ambassadors to promote positive health messages.

“Merchandise, including a special Deadly Kangaroos World Cup jersey, has been produced as an incentive for people to have a health check.

“The messages will also be promoted through television, radio, social media and at coaching clinics and Aboriginal community controlled health services.”

The Australian Government is contributing $235,000 to help support the Deadly Kangaroos campaign

The Rugby League World Cup runs from 26 October – 2 December 2017.