NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Download @GrattanInst #MappingPrimaryCare ‏Report : Reform primary care to improve health care for all Australians says @stephenjduckett

 ” Primary care policy needs an overhaul to ensure all Australians — especially the poor and the elderly — get the best possible health care, according to a new Grattan Institute report.

Mapping primary care in Australia shows many poorer Australians can’t afford to go to a GP when they need to or a dentist when they should, and people in rural and remote areas find it too hard to get to a pharmacist or medical specialist. “

Stephen Duckett, Health Program Director Grattan Institute see in full Part 1 below

Primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI) is delivered by a range of providers, including ATSI specific and general health service organisations.

The Indigenous Australians Health Programme105 provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with access to primary care services in urban, rural and remote locations, primarily through Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Services.

Commencing in 2015-16, the Commonwealth committed $3.2 billion over four years to fund the Indigenous Australians Health Programme.

The programme funds primary care services, remote area health, and integrated team care. It targets a range of infectious, chronic and behavioural conditions that are particularly relevant for indigenous populations.

Data on the outcomes of Indigenous health services is better than for many other primary care services.

Most outcomes have improved over the last few years, although they remain well behind averages for the rest of the population.

See Pages 30 – 32 in the Grattan Report Download full report HERE

Grattan Institute -Mapping-primary-care

Part 1

Australians’ access to general practice varies according to their wealth. Two-thirds of patients are bulk-billed for all their visits to the GP, but the financial barriers for those who are not can be high. About 4 per cent of Australians say they delay seeing a GP because of the cost.

Individuals or their private health insurer have to pay for the bulk of dental care. As a result, about one in five Australians do not get the recommended level of oral health care. Worse, people on low incomes who can’t afford to pay often wait for years to get public dental services.

Access to allied health services such as physiotherapy and podiatry varies significantly according to where people live. People in the Northern Territory are about four times less likely to use Medicare-funded allied health services than Victorians.

The report finds that the funding, organisation and management of primary care has not kept pace with changes to disease patterns, the economic pressure on health services, and technological advances.

In particular, primary care services are not organised well enough to support integrated, comprehensive care for the 20 per cent of Australians who have complex and chronic conditions.

Nor is primary care well organised to prevent or reduce the incidence of conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Governance and accountability are split between various levels of government and numerous separate agencies, making overall management of the system difficult. Neither the Commonwealth nor the states take the lead.

The report calls for:

  • A comprehensive national primary care policy framework to improve prevention and patient care.
  • Formal agreements between the Commonwealth, the states and Primary Health Networks to improve management of the primary care system.
  • New funding, payment and organisational arrangements to provide better long-term care for the increasing number of older Australians who live with complex and chronic conditions, and to help keep populations healthy in the first place.

“Primary care policy in Australia is under-done,” says Grattan Institute Health Program Director Stephen Duckett.

“Australia has good-quality primary care by international standards, but it can be better. This report shows how.”

PART 2 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

5.1 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners

According to National Health Workforce data, there were 451 ATSI health practitioners in 2015. As Figure 5.1 shows, most work in outer regional, remote and very remote areas,106 and as Figure 5.2 on the next page shows, most work in Aboriginal health services.

These services provide a comprehensive range of medical, oral, nursing and allied health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people tripled to around 50 per cent. Recording of blood pressure, blood sugar levels and kidney function also increased.

Results indicate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services are on track to meet national goals by 2023, although results vary according to jurisdiction and remoteness.

All improvements must be considered in the context of the big gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The life expectancy of Indigenous Australians is about 10 years shorter than for other Australians.

5.2 Indigenous primary health services

In 2015-16, there were 204 Indigenous primary health care services.

They employed 7766 full-time equivalent staff, of whom 53 per cent were Indigenous. They had about 5.4 million contacts with 461,500 patients. The vast majority of patients (79 per cent) were Indigenous.

As Table 5.1 shows, most of these services (69 per cent) are in outer regional, remote and very remote areas, and a similar proportion are Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).108

5.3 Performance measurement

Significant effort has been made to measure the impact of primary care services on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The 24 National Key Performance Indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health109 cover maternal and child health, preventative health and chronic disease management. They build on previous work including the Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Program.

The 2016 results indicated significant improvement on 12 of the 16 measures in the national minimum data set.

This included improvements in recording patients’ birth weight, alcohol consumption, and whether they smoke.

But outcome measures indicated high and increasing levels of chronic disease and chronic disease risk factors among patients from 2012 to 2016.

There were indications that coordination of the care of patients had improved. From 2012 to 2015, the proportion of patients with diabetes who had GP management plans and team care arrangements had tripled to around 50 per cent.

Recording of blood pressure, blood sugar levels and kidney function also increased.

Results indicate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services are on track to meet national goals by 2023, although results vary according to jurisdiction and remoteness.

All improvements must be considered in the context of the big gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The life expectancy of Indigenous Australians is about 10 years shorter than for other Australians.110

5.4 Funding

In 2013-14, about $6 billion was spent towards improving Indigenous health, of which 13 per cent went to community health services.111

The Commonwealth has introduced a range of measures to improve Indigenous Australians’ access to health care, including MBS and PBS concessions for Indigenous patients and deploying Medicare liaison officers to educate Indigenous people about the health care system.112

Available data suggests the distribution of Commonwealth-funded ATSI health services and other GP services matches the distribution of Indigenous populations, except in remote and very remote areas of Queensland and Western Australia.113

But more data is needed, including on services provided by state and territory governments, and on the quality of the coordination of care for Indigenous patients.

The available data also suggests Indigenous Australians may have poorer access to specialist services. And of course, access to a service does not ensure that the care provided is culturally appropriate.

NACCHO partners with @Mayi_Kuwayu and key Indigenous peak bodies to survey 200,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in national Wellbeing study

“The Aboriginal-led and governed study will be larger than any previous study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.

It aims to provide information for communities, services and policy makers to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.”

Dr Mark Wenitong, study co-investigator from the Apunipima Cape York Health Council.

In an Australian first, the Australian National University will partner with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies to conduct a national study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing.

The study name, ‘Mayi Kuwayu’ means ‘to follow Aboriginal people over time’ in Ngiyampaa language, the family language of the study’s director, Associate Professor Ray Lovett from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at ANU.

Download Mayi Kuwayu Study_Protocol

“The survey includes questions that people have told us matter to them as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Those things include connection to country, cultural beliefs and knowledge, language, family, kinship and community, cultural expression and continuity and self-determination and leadership, along with health”, Associate Professor Ray Lovett said.

 

The study will be rolled out in the second half of 2018 and will provide much needed evidence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and its impact on health and wellbeing.

The team has developed the survey questions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across the country over the last three years.

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governance committee will oversee the study, and ensure that it adheres to principles of Indigenous data sovereignty and governance.

All Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 years or older can be part of the study.

 

Potential participants can contact the team at mkstudy@anu.edu.au, at the study website www.mkstudy.com.au, or by free call on 1800 531 600.

The study received funding from the Lowitja Institute and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

A protocol paper describing the study has recently been published in the journal BMJ Open: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/6/e023861.share.

Our study partners include:

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Research News : Featuring @FaCtS_Study @Mayi_Kuwayu @HealthInfoNet and @LowitjaInstitut #ResearchIntoPolicy New report spotlights governments’ secrecy on Indigenous health program outcomes

The current Closing the Gap Refresh process has again highlighted the need for Governments to ensure effective engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities.

Together we can make informed decisions about creating sustainable and positive change.

This has to be done in a way where both insights and power are genuinely shared, not one way traffic.”

Romlie Mokak, CEO of the Lowitja Institute.

 

1. COMMUNITY PRIORITIES WILL TRANSLATE INTO EFFECTIVE ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER POLICIES

2. Study Question:  What would it take to address Family Violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities?

3. HealthInfoNet : Access to online Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health information just got easier

1. COMMUNITY PRIORITIES WILL TRANSLATE INTO EFFECTIVE ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER POLICIES

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in health research and evidence-based policy is critical to closing the gap for Australia’s First Peoples’ health.

A Community priorities into policy forum was held in Canberra Monday  highlighting three research projects to inform strategic decisions in policy development, service delivery and evaluation.

These projects reflect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community priorities, and were commissioned and funded by the Lowitja Institute.

Governments need increased focus and collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities to grow the knowledge and evidence base, and face future challenges in holding mainstream health organisations to account.

“Each of the projects discussed at this forum contribute to an emerging body of research on the value of engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in every stage of health research,” Mr Mokak said.

Research leaders highlighting how deficit discourses have real world outcomes for health and wellbeing:

Download Copy

deficit-discourse-summary-report

“Discourses of deficit occur when discussion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs is reduced to a focus on failure and dysfunction, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity becomes defined in negative terms, eclipsing the complex reasons for inequalities, and overlooking diversity, capability and strength,” Dr Hannah Bulloch from National Centre for Indigenous Studies said.

Professor Margaret Kelaher from the University of Melbourne will argue that the potential benefits of programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not being fully realised due to limitations in how evaluations are being conducted, what is being evaluated, and how the evidence generated is being translated into action. She will present an evaluation framework to improve the benefits of evaluation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

SEE CROAKEY REVIEW

Information about evaluation tenders for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health programs is locked away by governments, according to a new research report.

Original Published here

A review of publicly advertised evaluation tenders over the past ten years found that only five percent of tender documents and 33 percent of evaluation reports were publicly available.

The report, An Evaluation Framework to Improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, makes sweeping recommendations to improve the transparency and accountability of evaluations, as well as the quality of tender processes.

Prepared for the Lowitja Institute by the University of Melbourne’s Margaret Kelaher, Joanne Luke, Angeline Ferdinand and Daniel Chamravi, the report is one of a number of new publications launched at a Community Priorities into Policies forum, convened by the Lowita Institute in Canberra today.

Follow #ResearchIntoPolicy for live tweeting of the discussions, which are being covered by UTS scholar and Croakey contributing editor Dr Megan Williams for the Croakey Conference News Service.

The report calls for tender documents, evaluation reports and responses to evaluation to be stored on a publicly accessible database, so they are accessible to the communities in which data are collected.

Reforms needed

It also calls for sweeping reforms to evaluation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health programs to ensure they better meet the needs of communities and follow the principles of ethical research.

The researchers said the failure to release evaluation reports was a frustration not only for evaluators, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and program implementers – but also commissioners.

“The value of releasing evaluation reports was recognised by all parties,” the report said. “Although decisions not to release evaluation reports are typically made by commissioning agencies, these decisions often reflect political rather than program imperatives.

“Exceptions were cases where there were concerns about the quality of the evaluation; however, this is likely to make up a small proportion of the reports that are not released.”

The researchers said the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet was moving to release all evaluations in either report or summary form, but that past evaluations should also be released.

“Lack of access to information about evaluations and their findings is a significant barrier to building the evidence base in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. It also prevents evidence-based priority setting and quality assurance processes around evaluation.”

Ethical gaps

The report noted that evaluation contracts, particularly around intellectual property, are often at odds with community expectations and ethical frameworks.

“The most important finding from this review of government tenders is that there is no consistency regarding ethics requirements for evaluations involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Nor is there an ethic to give Aboriginal communities a voice in the evaluation through meaningful engagement or control of the evaluation.”

The report also found that, although there were some positive examples, accepted principles for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not widely or consistently integrated into programs, tender documents or program evaluations.

For example, principles of holistic concept of health, partnerships and shared responsibility, cultural respect, engagement, capacity building, accountability and governance were not well integrated into evaluations.

“It was not uncommon for a program to stipulate that its outcomes were related to holistic health but then have indicators that were largely biomedical,” the researchers reported.

The report proposes a framework for the evaluation of policies, programs and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, noting that the lack of a coherent framework has meant “a reduction in the quantity, quality, scope and use of available evidence”.

While efforts were underway to improve evaluation processes, the researchers said it was recognised that systemic change was required.

They called for tender processes to support evaluation proposals that are most likely to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and for evaluation contracts and agreements to be consistent with principles for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and ethical frameworks.

A directory of current evaluations should be developed, and training should be provided to specifically support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in evaluation, the researchers said.

The report gives several examples of positive approaches to evaluation, but notes that “the most constant criticism from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about evaluation and other types of research is that the findings are not translated into action and thus not of benefit to communities”.

For example, many of the issues examined in the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory arose from unaddressed recommendations in the 2007 Little Children are Sacred report and the 1991 report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Press Release Continued

A project led by the Secretariat National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care will be presented by Professor Kerry Arabena, also from the University of Melbourne. The project looks at service delivery integration initiatives targeted to the early childhood development needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The Lowitja Institute Research Leadership Award announced at the event and wa presented by the Ms Kate Latimer, CEO of the Cranlana Program

and ’s 2018 Leadership Award goes to , a Chief Investigator on the . Congratulations Ray

The Australian National University is seeking partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to conduct research to find out what communities need to promote and improve safety for families.  We want to partner and work with local organisations and communities to make sure the research benefits the community.
 
Who are we?
We work at the Australian National University (ANU). The study is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers.  Professor Victoria Hovane (Ngarluma, Malgnin/Kitja, Gooniyandi), along with Associate Professor Raymond Lovett (Wongaibon, Ngiyampaa) and Dr Jill Guthrie (Wiradjuri) from NCEPH, and Professor Matthew Gray of the Centre for Social Research and Methods (CSRM) at ANU will be leading the study.
 
Study Question:  What would it take to address Family Violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities?
 
How are we going to gather information to answer the study question?
A Community Researcher (who we would give funds to employ) would capture the data by interviewing 100 community members, running 3 focus groups for Men /  Women / Youth (over 16).
We would interview approx. 5 community members to hear about the story in your community.
We know Family Violence happens in all communities.  We don’t want to find out the prevalence, we want to know what your communities needs to feel safe. We will also be mapping the services in your community, facilities and resources available in a community.  All this information will be given back to your community.
 
What support would we provide your service?
We are able to support your organisation up to $40,000 (including funds for $30 vouchers), this would also help to employ a Community Researcher.
Community participants would be provided with a $30 voucher to complete a survey, another $30 for the focus group, and another $30 for the interview for their time.
What will we give your organisation?
We can give you back all the data that we have captured from your community, (DE identified and confidentialised of course).We can give you the data in any form you like, plus create a Community Report for your community.  There might be some questions you would like to ask your community, and we can include them in the survey.
 
How long would we be involved with your community / organisation?
Approximately 2 months
 
How safe is the data we collect?
The data is safe. It will be DE identified and Confidentialised.  Our final report will reflect what Communities (up to 20) took part in the study, but your data and community will be kept secret.  Meaning, no one will know what data came from your community.
 
If you think this study would be of benefit to your community, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Victoria Hovane and the FaCtS team on 1800 531 600 or email facts.study@anu.edu.au.

 

3. HealthInfoNet : Access to online Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health information just got easier

 

 

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet this week launched a new responsive design website.

VIEW HERE

The HealthInfoNet has been bringing together the latest information, evidence, research and knowledge about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in one place and making it freely accessible for over 20 years.

A comprehensive custom built database and re design of the front of the web resource means that the new responsive design will support the workforce more than ever before, on any platform in any location.

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew, says ‘Now more than ever those working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health need prompt access to relevant, reliable information as well as quick, easy search options. Our new evidenced based responsive design has been the result of in depth review of site mapping and analytics, a national user survey of what users want and access most and extensive collaboration with users and other stakeholders across the country. This has resulted in the design of a cleaner, visual and more accessible site which can now be accessed on any platform be it a tablet or mobile phone”.

Renae Bastholm, HealthInfoNet IT Manager who developed the responsive site said ”The content you know and trust is still there, but a simpler and easier navigation will mean a shorter search time to get to what you need and a quicker loading time.  We have structured the new site to be intuitive so our users don’t have to think too much about navigation. The new platform allows us to custom design the information to our users’ needs and quickly display information”.

“The real dividend” says Professor Drew “is that for a site of this size and a national user base with diverse needs, is the ease of getting directly to the information you need when you need it. This supports the time poor health workforce and ensures the relevant information gets to where it’s needed most. Updating the site and utilising the latest technology to meet users’ needs is an ongoing focus”.

Both the HealthInfoNet and the Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre are now available in this new format. www.Aodknowledgecentre.ecu.edu.au (note new location).

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SDOH : Sir @MichaelMarmot Visits @CAACongress ACCHO Alice Springs : Watch 90 minute @Flinders seminar TAKING ACTION Social Justice , #SocialDeterminants and #HealthEquity @baumfran

“What I have seen in Alice Springs are examples of good news stories – committed people, adequately resourced, who are engaged with the Indigenous community, doing good things”

Professor Sir Michael Marmot visited Alice Springs  last week to speak at a seminar ( View 90 minute broadcast Part 1 below ) and witness Congress Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service’s work in reducing the impact of disadvantage and the effects this has on health outcomes for Aboriginal people.

Picture above Sir Michael at the CAAC health clinic Areyonga, NT

Sir Marmot, Director of the University College London’s Institute of Health Equity and a leading researcher on health inequality issues, is a powerful international advocate for the social determinants of health.

Principal Investigator of the Whitehall Studies of British civil servants, Sir Marmot has investigated the reasons for the striking inverse social gradient in morbidity and mortality.

1.Flinders University Lecture

Kath Martin welcome to Arrernte Country

Why treat people and send them back to what made them sick !

Watch Sir Michaels 90 minute presentation here

Noting that it will start at the 15 Minute mark

“Welcome to my fantasy land & let’s imagine a fairer world”, closing words from … such wonderful, inspiring, lecture

Read background to Fantasy Land

2.Alcohol & overcrowding – Sir Michael Marmot talks on the NT health challenge       

Overcrowded houses and alcohol ravaging families are just some of the many challenges which face the health system in the Northern Territory.

But how well is the Territory tackling these issues?

Paul Serratore speaks with Sir Michael Marmot, a professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, to find out.

Listen Here

3. Sir Marmot visited Congress specifically to learn how Aboriginal Community Controlled health services improve the lives of Aboriginal people.

“Importantly, through our use of data we have been able to clearly demonstrate to Sir Marmot how effective Congress is as a leading Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service” Congress CEO, Donna Ah Chee, said.

“The way we collect and use data is building an evidence base about what works, and he commented on the importance of this approach. He was also clear that one of the key ways that health services implement a social determinants approach is by providing Aboriginal employment and in this regard, he was very impressed with the current 50% Aboriginal employment rate and strategic target of 60%.

He was impressed that there are so many good things happening in Aboriginal health as compared with the doom and gloom he had previously heard about.”

“This has been a fantastic opportunity to show case the great work of Congress to an internationally renowned advocate for social determinants of health” Ms Ah Chee said.

“We are very pleased that Sir Marmot will be taking what he has learnt here to the rest of the world.”

 Local Aboriginal health worker, Sarah and , in local health clinic Areyonga, NT

Downtown Areyonga/Utju – an Aborigine population of about 150, with a well-resourced health centre

NACCHO Research NEWS : Indigenous Health Minister @KenWyattMP AM officially launches @MurdochUni #NgangkYira an Australian-first centre to boost Aboriginal health by fast-tracking social and cultural research.

“This unique centre aligns strongly with the Turnbull Government’s holistic, whole-of-life approach to improving First Peoples’ health.

Ngangk Yira means ‘rising sun’ in Noongar and aims to expose and reduce the broader social inequities that affect the health of many of our people.

Targeting and understanding the social and cultural determinants of health is crucial, because these factors can account for up to half the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.”

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM has officially launched an Australian-first centre to boost Aboriginal health by fast-tracking social and cultural research.

See Murdoch University press Release part 2 below

See the research projects seek to close the gap in Aboriginal health Part 3 Below

Hear from Professors Rhonda Marriott and Fiona Stanley, and meet Aboriginal midwife Valerie Ah Chee in the Ngangk Yira launch video

https://player.vimeo.com/api/player.js

Minister Wyatt said Murdoch University’s Ngangk Yira Aboriginal Health and Social Equity Research Centre promises new methods of tackling Closing the Gap challenges.

Minister Wyatt said the new centre would focus on practical health solutions, including research into the importance of cultural respect, education and equality.

“Ngangk Yira’s Birthing on Noongar Boodjar study has already revealed a shortage of culturally secure maternity care in hospitals,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The centre’s work is about giving children the best start in life and the opportunity to reach their full potential as they grow into adults.”

Minister Wyatt is Patron of the new centre. Co-Patron is Fiona Stanley AC.

Research will be conducted by Aboriginal researchers, in partnership with other Australian and international experts in maternal health, youth resilience and mental health.

Ngangk Yira studies will be carried out in close consultation with Aboriginal elders.

Part 2

Murdoch University is this week launching an Aboriginal health research centre – the first of its kind in Australia – to address the urgent and complex ‘wicked’ problems affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and social equity.

The Ngangk Yira Research Centre for Aboriginal Health and Social Equity will focus on translational research that provides practical solutions to improve health, educational and social outcomes for Aboriginal families and their communities.

Led by Aboriginal maternal and child health academic Professor Rhonda Marriott, the Centre has as patrons eminent child and Aboriginal health advocate Professor Fiona Stanley AC and Federal Minister for Indigenous Health Hon Ken Wyatt, MP.

Research is conducted by Aboriginal researchers in partnership with leading WA and international, maternal health, youth resilience and mental health experts and services and with the close involvement of community elders and stakeholders.

Taking a connected life course approach from pregnancy, to young adulthood, and parenthood the Centre’s research recognises that a strong start in life is fundamental for healthy and resilient children, families and communities, Professor Marriott said.

“To grow strong Aboriginal communities, we must start at the beginning by supporting mothers and families every step of the journey from pregnancy. Even before a baby is born, the environment  has a big impact on lifelong social, physical and emotional health,” Professor Marriott said.

Murdoch University Vice Chancellor Professor Eeva Leinonen said Ngangk Yira’s work had the potential to transform the real-life experiences of Aboriginal families and their communities.

“We will be pioneering the practical changes that will change the life course of the next generation of Aboriginal youth, and informing key changes to state and national policy, practice and education to support these outcomes,” Professor Leinonen said.

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said: “The work of this centre will help to push out life expectancy and is likely to reduce the prevalence rates of renal disease and many of the later chronic conditions because children will grow up healthy and resilient. Like a house, a solid foundation gives strength to the structure and, equally, the foundation of life and being born healthy and well means that your life’s journey will be stronger and longer.”

A recently completed four-year NHMRC-funded Ngangk Yira project, Birthing on Noongar Boodjar, highlighted a shortage of high-quality, culturally secure maternity care in WA hospitals that was critical to improved maternity care and childbirth outcomes for Aboriginal mothers and their babies.

Other projects underway include the Baby Coming – You Ready program that provides a mental health screening tool for postnatal depression to assist young parents during pregnancy and their babies first year.  This is expected to bolster the social and emotional wellbeing of new parents and support improved birth and developmental outcomes for their babies.

The Indigenous Young People’s Resilience and Wellbeing project is a long-term study of Aboriginal youth aged 15 to 18 to better understand factors affecting their resilience and wellbeing and to improve youth services and community programs to address these.

Parental mental health and its impact on children’s mental health will also be examined through a population-based Linked Data Project that will study the type, scale and timing of mental health problems in young Aboriginal people and their families. Data will be used to address some critical gaps in support for mental health development in “the critical first 1001 days” of a child’s life.

This research is expected to improve knowledge of the mental and physical health of Aboriginal children in Western Australia, pregnancy outcomes, child abuse and neglect, disability, contact with the juvenile justice system and education.

The Centre’s work to identify ways to make Aboriginal families healthier and more resilient is also supported by strong partnerships with academics and experts in NSW, Canada and the UK, along with the Telethons Kids’ Institute, the University of Notre Dame and international universities.

To learn more about Ngangk Yira click here.

Part 3 About Ngangk Yira

Murdoch University’s Ngangk Yira Research Centre supports the University’s commitment to improving Aboriginal health, wellbeing and social equity through innovative and translational research.

Ngangk Yira’s research takes a connected approach from pregnancy, young adulthood, to parenthood and the transition to older adulthood, recognising the evidence that a strong start in life is fundamental for healthy and resilient children, families and communities.

Aboriginal researchers lead the Centre’s projects in partnership with non-Aboriginal colleagues and with the close involvement of community elders.

Its work is already pioneering the practical changes that will change the life course of the next generation of Aboriginal youth and which will inform translatable outcomes to state and national policy, practice and education.

Upcoming studies will help better identify and address risk factors for mental wellbeing in mothers and young families and look at ways to build resilience in Aboriginal youth.

Ngangk Yira brings together an experienced team of researchers, led by Professor Rhonda Marriot. Professor Fiona Stanley and the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt, are patrons of the Centre.

Ngangk Yira

Ngangk means both ‘mother’ and ‘sun’. Alongside the Noongar word Yira, the meaning expands to: the rising sun (ngangk yira). Together, they have added spiritual meaning for the sun’s giving of life to all things in its passage across the sky.

Our research projects seek to close the gap in Aboriginal health

Birthing on Noongar Boodjar

Since 2014, researchers at Murdoch University have been collecting data to better understand the cultural needs of Aboriginal women and different meanings of ‘cultural security’ when Birthing on Country.

Interviews with Aboriginal mothers, senior women and elders examined what women want and expect from their maternity health services. An understanding of the knowledge and experience of midwives in supporting Aboriginal women’s maternity care was also gained.

The study found that more Aboriginal midwives and culturally secure models of care in WA hospitals are critical to closing the gap in maternity care and childbirth outcomes for Aboriginal women and families. Both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants identified the negative impact of racism and racial stereotyping on Aboriginal women’s birthing experiences.

The research recognised that better access to Aboriginal staff and family support during pregnancy and childbirth helped empower Aboriginal mothers.

Learn more in our news story, and the Ngangk Yira brochure.

Baby Coming – You Ready?

Perinatal mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can result in detrimental impacts on pregnancy and postnatal periods. Baby Coming – You Ready? was designed by Aboriginal men and women to assist young parents during pregnancy and their child’s first year.

It is different from other mental health screening and assessment tools because it’s a shared assessment between the client and the clinician, with a goal to bringing clarity to complex situations. The model encourages self-evaluation and reflection and fosters an understanding for both users.

This web-based interactive app will do much more than screen for perinatal depression. It will use visual images on a touch screen device to portray emotions, circumstances and events, both positive and challenging, that a mother or father-to-be may be experiencing.

Baby Coming – You Ready? is expected to see improvements in attendance at antenatal appointments, bolstering the social and emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents, and better birth and development outcomes for babies.

Learn more in the Ngangk Yira brochure.

Indigenous Young People’s Resilience and Wellbeing (2017 – 2020)

Launched in the second half of 2017, this project is a longitudinal study of Aboriginal youth across two sites; one here in Noongar country and one in the Gamilaroi nation in New South Wales.

The project is expected to enhance understanding of Aboriginal youth and improve our knowledge of their resilience and wellbeing.

Learn more in the Ngangk Yira brochure.

Linked Data Project

Parental mental health and its impact on children’s outcomes will be examined through data collected between 1990 – 2015. The data will be used to study the type, scale and timing of mental health problems in young people and their families, and address critical gaps in mental health, with a focus on the “critical 1001 day” period for children.

Key outcomes will include improved knowledge of the mental and physical health of Aboriginal children in Western Australia, pregnancy outcomes, child abuse and neglect, disability, contact with the juvenile justice system and education.

Learn more in the Ngangk Yira brochure.

Helping to build healthy and resilient communities

Learn more about our first complete project, the four-year Birthing on Noongar Boodjar, and Baby Coming – You Ready?, Ngangk Yira’s aim to find meaningful solutions to real problems.

Hear from Professors Rhonda Marriott and Fiona Stanley, and meet Aboriginal midwife Valerie Ah Chee in the Ngangk Yira launch video.

Minister @KenWyattMP launches NACCHO @RACGP National guide for healthcare professionals to improve health of #Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients

 

All of our 6000 staff in 145 member services in 305 health settings across Australia will have access to this new and update edition of the National Guide. It’s a comprehensive edition for our clinicians and support staff that updates them all with current medical practice.

“NACCHO is committed to quality healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, and will work with all levels of government to ensure accessibility for all.”

NACCHO Chair John Singer said the updated National Guide would help governments improve health policy and lead initiatives that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

You can Download the Guide via this LINK

A/Prof Peter O’Mara, NACCHO Chair John Singer Minister Ken Wyatt & RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel launch the National guide at Parliament house this morning

“Prevention is always better than cure. Already one of the most widely used clinical guidelines in Australia, this new edition includes critical information on lung cancer, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and preventing child and family abuse and violence.

The National Guide maximises the opportunities at every clinic visit to prevent disease and to find it early.It will help increase vigilance over previously undiagnosed conditions, by promoting early intervention and by supporting broader social change to help individuals and families improve their wellbeing.”

Minister Ken Wyatt highlights what is new to the 3rd Edition of the National Guide-including FASD, lung cancer, young people lifecycle, family abuse & violence and supporting families to optimise child safety & wellbeing : Pic Lisa Whop SEE Full Press Release Part 2 Below

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) have joined forces to produce a guide that aims to improve the level of healthcare currently being delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and close the gap.

Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Associate Professor Peter O’Mara said the third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (the National Guide) is an important resource for all health professionals to deliver best practice healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

“The National Guide will support all healthcare providers, not just GPs, across Australia to improve prevention and early detection of disease and illness,” A/Prof O’Mara said.

“The prevention and early detection of disease and illness can improve people’s lives and increase their lifespans.

“The National Guide will support healthcare providers to feel more confident that they are looking for health issues in the right way.”

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said the RACGP is committed to tackling the health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“The National Guide plays a vital role in closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health disparity,” Dr Seidel said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have equal access to quality healthcare across Australia and the National guide is an essential part of ensuring these services are provided.

“GPs and other healthcare providers who implement the recommendations within the National Guide will play an integral role in reducing health disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and ensuring culturally responsive and appropriate healthcare is always available.”

The updated third edition of the National Guide can be found on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website.

 

Free to download on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website:

http://www.racgp.org.au/national-guide/

and NACCHO

Part 2 Prevention and Early Diagnosis Focus for a Healthier Future

The critical role of preventive care and tackling the precursors of chronic disease is being boosted in the latest guide for health professionals working to close the gap in health equality for Indigenous Australians

The critical role of preventive care and tackling the precursors of chronic disease is being boosted in the latest guide for health professionals working to close the gap in health equality for Indigenous Australians.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, today launched the updated third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Prevention is always better than cure,” said Minister Wyatt. “Already one of the most widely used clinical guidelines in Australia, this new edition includes critical information on lung cancer, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and preventing child and family abuse and violence.

“The National Guide maximises the opportunities at every clinic visit to prevent disease and to find it early.

“It will help increase vigilance over previously undiagnosed conditions, by promoting early intervention and by supporting broader social change to help individuals and families improve their wellbeing.”

The guide, which was first published in 2005, is a joint project between the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners RACGP).

“To give you some idea of the high regard in which it is held, the last edition was downloaded 645,000 times since its release in 2012,” said Minister Wyatt.

“The latest edition highlights the importance of individual, patient-centred care and has been developed to reflect local and regional needs.

“Integrating resources like the national guide across the whole health system plays a pivotal role in helping us meet our Closing the Gap targets.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to accelerating positive change and is investing in targeted activities that have delivered significant reductions in the burden of disease.

“Rates of heart disease, smoking and binge drinking are down. We are on track to achieve the child mortality target for 2018 and deaths associated with kidney and respiratory diseases have also reduced.”

The National Guide is funded under the Indigenous Australian’s Health Programme as part of a record $3.6 billion investment across four financial years.

The RACGP received $429,000 to review, update, publish and distribute the third edition, in hard copy and electronic formats.

The National Guide is available on the RACGP website or by contacting RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health on 1800 000 251 or aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au.

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #CloseTheGap Research @GregHuntMP and @KenWyattMP announces $6 million 3 year funding for Aboriginal led , only Academic Health Science Centre in Australia with a primary focus on #Aboriginal and #remote health

As the only Academic Health Science Centre in Australia with a primary focus on Aboriginal and remote health, we are pleased that Minister Hunt is leading on the front foot with an announcement such as this.

It’s especially pleasing that this is happening just as we are about to engage with a wide consultation between our members over health research priorities in Central Australia in the coming years—this three year commitment allows us to do this with confidence.

The Centre is already working in key areas such as endemic HTLV-1 infection, exploring the complex interplay between communicable and chronic disease as well as exploring the capacity of the primary health care sector to reduce avoidable hospitalisations,”

The Chairperson of the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre [CA AHSC] John Paterson has welcomed the commitment over three years of significant research funding to the Centre by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.

“Research projects that will be supported will emphasise those based on community need and initiative especially as expressed by the Aboriginal partner organisations, though this will not necessarily preclude externally identified needs. 

In any case, we will focus on comprehensive approaches to consultation and participation in the ethical design of research projects, the carriage of the research, and the rapid implementation of positive research results.

A key activity will be that of building future leaders in the Aboriginal research workforce. We have already started this critical work with the first meeting of a network of more than 15 Aboriginal researchers in Central Australia.”

A health research partnership benefitting Warumungu, Arrernte (Eastern), Pintupi, Pitjantjatjarra, Arrernte (Central), Yankunytjarra, Luritja, Arrernte (Western), Warlpiri, Anmatyere, Ngaanyatjarra, Kaytetye and Alyawarre speakers across Central Australia

Project website

Press Release : Medical research to uncover better treatment for Indigenous Australians

The Turnbull Government will invest more than $6 million in a health science centre in Alice Springs which is focused on addressing health challenges faced by Indigenous Australians.

The Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre will receive $6.1 million over three years from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

This funding will support better treatment and diagnosis of health challenges experienced by Indigenous Australians.

The Centre brings together top researchers, medical experts and local communities to look at ways to improve healthcare options for the specific health challenges facing Indigenous Australians.

The Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre is the first Aboriginal-led collaboration of its kind and demonstrates the importance of Aboriginal community leadership in research and health improvement.

See NACCHO Coverage of launch July 2017

Aboriginal Health #NAIDOC2017 : New Aboriginal-led collaboration has world-class focus on boosting remote Aboriginal health

These projects will directly benefit regional and remote Aboriginal communities and it is our hope that medical research will help in closing the gap on disadvantage.

The first priority project that will be supported through the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre will be a study into addressing HTLV-1.

Additional areas that will be considered by the Centre include addressing research into ear and eye health, renal health and dialysis, children and maternity health in Indigenous communities.

Indigenous health is one of the Turnbull Government’s fundamental priorities and while progress has been made on some key indicators, with male and female life expectancy increasing and child mortality and smoking rates decreasing, more needs to be done.

Today I am also pleased to announce more than $740,000 of MRFF funding for University of Queensland researchers to undertake a world-first project, in collaboration with Aboriginal communities, to find ways to improve Aboriginal food security and dietary intake in cities and remote areas.

Poor diet and food insecurity are major contributors to the excess mortality and morbidity suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

The Turnbull Government is committed to improving the health services for Indigenous Australians and we will continue to invest in better treatment, care and medical research.

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.

Recommendation

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 https://ama.com.au/position-statement/nutrition-2018

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : @KenWyattMP #MyLifeMyLead Report: Tackling #SocialDeterminants and Strengthening Culture Key to Improving #Indigenous Health

“My Life My Lead is an opportunity to build on the work we are doing and the progress we have made, for instance in cutting smoking, reducing infant mortality and chronic disease deaths, and achieving higher immunisation rates.

Seven priority areas have been identified in My Life My Lead, which will be integral to the next iteration of the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan. It will also help inform our Closing the Gap refresh agenda.

While governments have a critical role in setting policies and implementing programs, true and lasting gains are made when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a say in those areas that impact on their health and wellbeing.”

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM

The Turnbull Government has released ( December 21 2017 ) results of national consultations that highlight the importance of culture and tackling the social determinants of health, to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said the wide-ranging My Life My Lead: Opportunities for strengthening approaches to the social determinants and cultural determinants of Indigenous health (My Life My Lead) report will help inform the whole-of-government approach to better Indigenous health.

 The seven priorities are:

    1. Culture at the centre of change
    2. Success and wellbeing for health through employment
    3. Foundations for a healthy life
    4. Environmental health
    5. Healthy living and strong communities
    6. Health service access
    7. Health and opportunity through education

Report

My Life My Lead: Opportunities for strengthening approaches to the social determinants and cultural determinants of Indigenous Health: Report on the national consultations December 2017 – PDF 4.7 MB

My Life My Lead: Opportunities for strengthening approaches to the social determinants and cultural determinants of Indigenous Health: Report on the national consultations December 2017 – Word 13 MB

Infographics – PDFs only, these are available via the report in word and PDF

Priority Area One: Culture at the centre of change – PDF 413 KB
Priority Area Two: Success and wellbeing for health through employment – PDF 483 KB


Priority Area Three: Foundations for a health life – PDF 496 KB
Priority Area Four: Environmental health – PDF 479 KB


Priority Area Five: Healthy living and strong communities – PDF 464 KB
Priority Area Six: Health service access – PDF 515 KB
Priority Area Seven: Health and opportunity through education – PDF 517 KB

The report was compiled from wide-ranging community consultations conducted during March-May 2017. Approximately 600 people attended 13 forums across Australia, and more than 100 written submissions were received. The report was also informed by literature reviews.

“A consistent theme from the consultations was the importance of including parents, Elders and Aboriginal communities in maintaining our people’s connections with culture and country,” Minister Wyatt said.

“While governments have a critical role in setting policies and implementing programs, true and lasting gains are made when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a say in those areas that impact on their health and wellbeing.

“To have strong, healthy children who grow into healthy adults leading fulfilling and long lives, we need to have effective and accessible childhood health care and education, wrapped with positive employment, housing and economic development opportunities.”

Minister Wyatt extended his deep gratitude and respect to the hundreds of individuals and organisations who contributed to the consultations, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from so many parts of Australia, who often travelled significant distances to participate.

Copies of ‘My Life My Lead’ can be found at www.health.gov.au/mylifemylead

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

https://nacchocommunique.com/category/nutrition-healthy-foods/

 ” 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.

sugartax

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