NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Nutrition : Download @aihw Nutrition across the life stages report @CHFofAustralia Poor diet findings underline calls for action on #obesity now : More than one-third of Australians’ energy intake comes from junk foods.


” More than one-third of Australians’ energy intake comes from junk foods. Known as discretionary foods, these include biscuits, chips, ice-cream and alcohol. For those aged 51-70, alcoholic drinks account for more than one-fifth of discretionary food intake.

These are some of the findings from the Nutrition across the life stages report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare ” 

From The Conversation see Part 3 below

Download copy aihw-nutrition report

 ” Overall, the diets of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are similar. However, Indigenous adults in some age groups eat less fruit, vegetables and dairy products and alternatives.

They also have a lower intake of fibre and a higher intake of discretionary food and added sugars than non-Indigenous adults.”

For Indigenous Health see page 108 or Part 2 Below

Part 1 Poor diet findings underline calls for action on obesity now

Read our NACCHO Obesity submission plus 60 articles here

The poor diet of many Australians, beginning in childhood, as revealed in a new official report, underlines the need for concerted national action on obesity, the Consumers Health Forum has said

The report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released today shows that Australians generally do not eat enough of the right food, like vegetables, and too much food rich in fat, salt and sugars.

“These findings again vindicate calls over the years by health and community groups for concerted action on obesity and at last, Australia’s health ministers have agreed to develop a national strategy to counter this huge public health challenge,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.

“We welcome the decision by the COAG Health Ministers Council last week to develop a national plan on obesity.

“As this new AIHW report Nutrition across the life stages, shows, there is great scope for improving diets of most Australians of all ages.  This includes children whose formative diets do not include enough vegetables, teenagers who tend to eat too much junk food and even those in middle age whose alcohol intake is often too high.

“It has taken too long to reach a national agreement for action on obesity.  Now health ministers must move promptly to introduce effective measures.

“Governments have a ready-made blueprint for action, provided by the Obesity Policy Coalition’s report Tipping the Scales, which CHF strongly supported.

“After a comprehensive and expert investigation, that report proposed eight critical actions to tackle obesity.  These included tougher restrictions on TV junk food advertising, food reformulation targets, mandatory Health Star ratings on food, an active transport strategy, public health education campaigns and a 20 per cent health levy on sugary drinks.

The Health Ministers considered a number of aspects relating to obesity. They agreed that the national strategy should have a strong focus on prevention measures and social determinants of health, especially in relation to early childhood and rural and regional issues.

The Consumers Health Forum has called for more effective measures to counter obesity over several years.

In January 2015, with the support of the Obesity Policy Coalition, the Heart Foundation and the Public Health Association of Australia, CHF released the results of an Essential Research poll showing strong community backing for national action on obesity.

That poll revealed that 79 per cent of Australians polled believed that if we don’t do more to lower the intake of fatty sugary and salty foods/drinks, our children will live shorter lives than their parents. Half of those polled then approved of the idea of a tax on junk food/sugary drinks.

“We called then for the Federal Government to take decisive action to stop the never-ending promotion of unhealthy food and drink, particularly to young people.

“Australia has lagged behind other nations in taking effective action against obesity which is one of the greatest triggers of chronic health problems which afflict a growing number of Australians.

Unless we act now to arrest this trend, it will add up to even greater demands on our health system as it attempts to manage the growing levels of chronic disease in the community.

“The time for talk is well past.  We need action now,” Ms Wells said.

Part 2 Indigenous Australians

This report looked at whether food and nutrient intakes and health outcomes differ between
Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and found that overall, there is little difference.
Intake of serves from the 5 food groups for Indigenous children is similar to the intake for
non-Indigenous children.

However, differences are seen in the adult populations, particularly for fruit, vegetables, dairy products and alternatives (for those aged 19–50 and 71 and over) and grain foods
(for those aged 19–50), where intake is lower for Indigenous Australians.

Comparing the contribution of discretionary food to energy intake for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, the main differences are seen in women aged 19–30 and men and
women aged 31–50, with the contribution being higher in Indigenous Australians

While the intake of added sugars appears higher among Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians, this is only significant in those aged 19–30 and 31–50. Intake of saturated and trans fats and sodium are similar for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Fibre intake for Indigenous Australians aged 19–30 and 31–50 is lower than for non-Indigenous Australians.

The small survey sample for Indigenous Australians makes comparisons difficult when looking at  levels of physical activity as there is a high margin of error, so results should be interpreted with caution.

Levels of sufficient physical activity appear higher in Indigenous Australians; however, in most cases, the differences are not statistically significant.

The only exceptions are children aged 4–8 and boys aged 9–13, where the levels are higher in Indigenous Australians. For adults aged 19–30 and 31–50, non-Indigenous Australians have higher levels of physical activity.

For males, the prevalence of overweight and obesity does not differ by Indigenous status.

However, for women, from the age of 19, the prevalence is higher among Indigenous women than non-Indigenous women.

Among Indigenous Australians, there is no difference in the prevalence of overweight and obesity between males and females, unlike non-Indigenous Australians, where from the age of 19, the prevalence is higher in men than women.

Diet quality among Indigenous Australians may be affected by the remoteness of the area in which they live, as a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians live outside of Major cities than non-Indigenous Australians (AIHW 2018a).

Hudson (2010) suggests that many Indigenous Australians know what foods they need to maintain health; however, supply and affordability of fresh produce appear to be limiting factors in dietary quality.

Limited stock of fruit and vegetables have been found in remote shops near Indigenous communities, with some areas going without a delivery of fresh produce for weeks. And what is available is expensive.

When deliveries are received, stock can be up to 2 weeks old, so of poor quality. Additionally, lack of competition in these areas appears to be a factor with price.

Fibre-modified and fortified white bread appears to provide a large proportion of energy and required key nutrients for Indigenous Australians living in remote areas (in particular protein, folate, iron and calcium) (Brimblecombe et al. 2013a; Brimblecombe et al. 2013b; Gwynn et al. 2012).

The diet of Indigenous Australians have for some time, been shifting from traditional Indigenous diets that were previously high protein, fibre, polyunsaturated fat and complex carbohydrates to a more highly refined carbohydrate diet, with added sugars, saturated fat, sodium and low levels of fibre (Ferguson et al. 2017).

This may be due to lack of access to traditional food and general food affordability (Brimblecombe et al. 2014).

Lack of facilities to prepare and store food such as refrigerators and stovetops, have also caused an increased reliance of ready-made meals or takeaway foods for Indigenous Australians living in remote areas (Hudson 2010).

Part 3 from The Conversation

From HERE 

The report also shows physical activity levels are low in most age groups. Only 15% of 9-to-13-year-old girls achieve the 60-minute target. The prevalence of overweight and obesity remains high, reaching 81% for males aged 51–70.

The food intake patterns outlined in this report, together with low physical activity levels, highlight why as a country we are struggling to turn the tide on obesity rates.

Not much change in our diets

The report shows little has changed in Australians’ overall food intake patterns between 1995 and 2011-12. There have been slight decreases in discretionary food intake, with some trends for increased intakes of grain foods and meat and alternatives.

The message to eat more vegetables is not hitting the mark. There has been no change in vegetable intake in children and adolescents and a decrease in vegetable intake in adults since past surveys. The new data show all Australians fall well short of the recommended five serves daily. We are are closer to meeting the recommended one to two serves of fruit each day.

Australians are consuming around four serves of grains, including breads and cereals, compared to the recommended three to seven serves.

One serve of vegetables is equivalent to ½ cup of cooked vegetables. For fruit, this is a medium apple; grains is around ½ cup of pasta. A glass of milk and 65-120g of cooked meat are the equivalent serves for dairy and its alternatives, and meat and its alternatives respectively.

The data show a trend of lower serves of the five food groups in outer metro, regional and remote areas of Australia. Access to quality, fresh foods such as vegetables at affordable prices is a key barrier in many remote communities and can be a challenge in outer suburban and country areas of Australia.

There was also a 7-10 percentage point difference in meeting physical activity targets between major cities and regional or remote areas of Australia. Overweight and obesity levels were 53% in major cities, 57% in inner regional areas and 61% in outer regional/remote areas.

The CSIRO Healthy Diet Score compares food intake to Australian Dietary Guidelines. You can use these to see how your diet stacks up and how to improve.

Discretionary food servings

Discretionary foods are defined in guidelines as foods and drinks that are

not needed to meet nutrient requirements and do not fit into the Five Food Groups … but when consumed sometimes or in small amounts, these foods and drinks contribute to the overall enjoyment of eating.

A serve of discretionary food is 600kJ, equivalent to six hot chips, two plain biscuits, or a small glass of wine. The guidelines advise no more than three serves of these daily – 0.5 serves for under 8-year-olds.

Since 1995, the contribution of added sugars and saturated fat to Australians’ energy intake has generally decreased. This may be a reflection of the small decrease in discretionary food intake seen for most age groups.

But across all life stages, discretionary food intakes remain well in excess of the 0-3 serves recommended. Children at 2-3 years are eating more than three servers per day, peaking at seven daily serves in 14-to-18-year-olds. The patterns remains high throughout adulthood, still more four serves per day in the 70+ group.

Read more: Junk food packaging hijacks the same brain processes as drug and alcohol addiction

The excess intake of discretionary foods is the most concerning trend in this report. This is due to the doubleheader of their poor nutrient profile and being eaten in place of important, nutrient-rich groups such as vegetables, whole grains and dairy foods.

Our simulation modelling compared strategies to reduce discretionary food intake in the Australian population. We found cutting discretionary choice intake by half or replacing half of discretionary choices with the five food groups would have significant benefits for reducing intake of energy and so-called “risk” nutrients (sodium and added sugar), while maintaining or improving overall diet quality.

Main contributors to discretionary foods

Alcohol is often the forgotten discretionary choice. The NHMRC 2009 guidelines state:

For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day (and no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion) reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.

For adults aged 51–70, alcoholic drinks account for more than one-fifth (22%) of discretionary food intake. Alcohol intake in adults aged 51-70+ has increased since 1995. This age group includes people at the peak of their careers, retirees and older people. Stress, increased leisure time, mental health challenges and factors such as loneliness and isolation would all play a part in this complex picture.


Young children have small appetites and every bite matters. The guidelines suggest 2-to-3-year-olds should have very limited exposure to discretionary foods. In, studies the greatest levels of excess weight are seen in preschool years.

Biscuits, cakes and muffins are the key source of added sugars for young children. These are also the top source of energy and saturated fat and a key source of salt in young children. This is the time when lasting food habits and preferences are formed.

NACCHO #NDW2016 : Diet the single most important factor in the chronic disease epidemic facing our communities


“Worse still, nutrition policy for Australia’s First Peoples has fallen off the radar completely.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan 2000-2010 provided a framework for nutrition interventions, but it was 3 years before one project officer was appointed and the strategy lapsed in 2010.

An evaluation report on the strategy was only made public this year following a freedom of information request. There is no mention of food or nutrition in COAG’s most recent Closing the Gap health strategy, nor does nutrition feature strongly in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

Yet diet remains the single most important factor in the chronic disease epidemic facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

It is time for Australia to take strong leadership in nutrition policy.

We suggest seven ways to do so, following this federal election ”

Belinda Reeve and Alexandra Jones Writing in the MJA-see full article below

“Time to commit to good food policy”


Images from JAMIE OLIVER Ministry of Food visit

Apunipima  VIDEO Mossman Gorge

Also WATCH NACCHO TV to learn about

Sharylle Ellington Manager Apunipima

Mossman Primary Health Care Centre Cape York QLD

“Collaborating with the people of Mossman Gorge Aboriginal community during NAIDOC week has been an honour.

The Good Foundation is pleased to have worked in partnership with the local Aboriginal community, Apunipima Cape York Health Council and Mossman Gorge’s governing body, Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku (BBN) to deliver the program.

While our goal is to educate all Australians about the benefits of cooking fresh food from scratch, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are hardest hit by the impact of diet related disease.

We look forward to expanding our Indigenous program across the country and to our continued work with the government to address the gap in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous Australians.”

 Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia CEO, Elise Bennetts

Check out our new video here

Five minute full length –

2 minutes –

30 seconds –

In recognition of NAIDOC week, today Jamie Oliver’s Australian home cooking program, Jamie’s Ministry of Food, has released a video which clearly illustrates the program’s ethos and commitment to working collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to Close the Gap. The Good Foundation, which delivers Jamie’s Ministry of Food in Australia, developed the program in consultation with the local Aboriginal community, elders and health council, adapting the program to local needs to ensure its success.

Supported by funding from the Queensland Government, Department of Health, Mossman Gorge is the second Aboriginal community location for Jamie Oliver’s Australian home cooking program. Jamie’s Ministry of Food developed a program tailored to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, recognising the gap that exists in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“Collaborating with the people of Mossman Gorge Aboriginal community during NAIDOC week has been an honour. While our goal is to educate all Australians about the benefits of cooking fresh food from scratch, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are hardest hit by the impact of diet related disease. We look forward to expanding our Indigenous program across the country and to our continued work with the government to address the gap in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous Australians.” said Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia CEO, Elise Bennetts.

Jamie’s Ministry of Food Queensland Mobile Kitchen is currently in Mossman Gorge where it has been teaching local Aboriginal people to cook. The Good Foundation is pleased to have worked in partnership with the local Aboriginal community, Apunipima Cape York Health Council and Mossman Gorge’s governing body, Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku (BBN) to deliver the program.

The release of the video follows the announcement of Queensland Health’s new 10 year strategy which outlines the aim to increase life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males by 4.8 years and females by 5.1 years by 2026.

The new strategy also aims to tackle obesity since it’s 2.2 times higher for children and adults from disadvantaged areas; 48% higher for remote populations (particularly females); and 39% higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The Strategy is therefore focussing on Closing the Gap in relation to nutrition education and cooking skills for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders particularly in rural and remote communities.

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said it was great to see Jamie’s Ministry of Food deliver the mobile kitchen program to the Mossman community.

“This program is all about getting everyone cooking again by teaching them the basics; how to cook and how to enjoy food in a way that benefits them and their families” he said.

“In March this year, our government committed $1.34 million to continue this valuable program in Queensland, with a key focus of that funding being to grow the program’s reach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including those in Mossman.

“We wanted to ensure groups across Queensland who really need some additional support are given the opportunity to take part in this great program and learn the right skills and practical tips to help them achieve better health”

Mr Dick said Queensland was the first state to partner with Jamie’s Ministry of Food back in 2011 and that the partnership had played an important role to improve the health of thousands of Queenslanders ever since.

“As at the end of last year, more than 27,000 Queenslanders had attended a Jamie’s Ministry of Food course, cooking demonstration or community event, so it’s great to see this program still enjoying huge success as it continues to support Queenslanders, wherever they live, to lead healthier lives,”  Mr Dick said.

Jamie’s Ministry of Food is an innovative, community-based cooking program built on Jamie’s beliefs about cooking and the associated impact on healthy living. The program has been proven to work. Research funded by Queensland Health and conducted by Deakin University and University of Melbourne showed that participants who take the course purchased and consumed more vegetables, spent less on take away foods and changed their cooking and eating behaviours. This was sustained for 6 months after completing the course.

The Good Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which has partnered with Jamie Oliver and principal partner, Woolworths to deliver Jamie’s Ministry of Food throughout Australia. Queensland Health has committed funding to The Good Foundation to support the delivery of the program state wide in Queensland. Stockland has commenced a local partnership with Jamie’s Ministry of Food Mobile Kitchen program in Queensland. The Good Guys, founding partner of Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia, is proud to support the program which is helping to build healthier and happier communities.

For bookings and more information on Jamie’s Ministry of Food visit

“Time to commit to good food policy

MALNUTRITION in all its forms is one of Australia’s most critical health concerns.

Almost two in three Australian adults are overweight or obese (along with 25% of children), and poor diets and high body mass are leading contributors to Australia’s burden of disease. Unhealthy diets are a key risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, which account for 90% of all deaths in Australia.

The health risks of poor nutrition are not distributed equally. There is evidence of a socio-economic gradient in nutrition and diet-related health, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have much higher rates of chronic disease and obesity than the non-Indigenous population.

It is estimated that up to 19% of the burden of disease in Indigenous populations is due to poor diet.

While food in Australia is generally plentiful, food insecurity persists. One in 20 Australians cannot feed themselves and their families safe, healthy food without relying on charity. This rate is up to five times higher among Australia’s First Peoples, with marginalised groups such as asylum seekers and the homeless also being vulnerable to food insecurity.

Under- and over-nutrition are flip sides of the same coin, with some groups at heightened risk for both forms of malnutrition.

Dietary patterns also have profound implications for environmental health. The agricultural sector (and livestock production in particular) accounts for 10-12% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, suggesting that increasing meat consumption is a key contributor to climate change.

Climate change depletes the environmental resource base for food production, in turn decreasing crop yields and contributing to global food insecurity.

The federal government has been slow off the mark addressing the challenge of creating a healthy, equitable and sustainable food system. The 2008 report of the National Preventative Health Taskforce set out a blueprint for addressing obesity and diet-related chronic disease, but the then Labor government rejected the Taskforce’s most hard-hitting recommendations for encouraging healthy eating and improving dietary health.

Industry self-regulation of food marketing to children was endorsed over stronger statutory measures, the idea of food taxes was swiftly dismissed, and the voluntary Health Star Rating labelling system was selected over the “traffic-light” model recommended by the government’s own commissioned independent review.

On the plus side, progress was made through the establishment of the Australian National Preventative Health Agency and dedicated funding to new, community-based prevention initiatives. Work also began on a National Food Plan, which included a focus on nutrition and food system sustainability.

Unfortunately, food and nutrition policy in Australia appears to be a case of “two steps forward, one step back,” with the incoming Coalition government disbanding the Australian National Preventative Health Agency and removing almost $400 million in funding for state-based prevention efforts. The nutrition component of the National Food Plan was hived off into a separate National Nutrition Policy, which has yet to see the light of day.

In the areas of product reformulation, food marketing to children and interpretive food labelling, government continues to prefer voluntary, industry-led initiatives, some of which have laudable objectives but have been poorly implemented and enforced.

This may be unsurprising given the economic power of Australia’s food industry. Making up almost one third of Australia’s total manufacturing sector, the industry is able to wield significant power in food and nutrition’s “regulatory space”, often at the expense of more effective regulatory measures to improve the accessibility of healthy foods and beverages, and encourage healthy eating.

Worse still, nutrition policy for Australia’s First Peoples has fallen off the radar completely.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan 2000-2010 provided a framework for nutrition interventions, but it was 3 years before one project officer was appointed and the strategy lapsed in 2010.

An evaluation report on the strategy was only made public this year following a freedom of information request. There is no mention of food or nutrition in COAG’s most recent Closing the Gap health strategy, nor does nutrition feature strongly in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023. Yet diet remains the single most important factor in the chronic disease epidemic facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Australia’s poor performance on nutrition stands in stark contrast to the many countries around the world experimenting with innovative and progressive policies to promote healthy diets and prevent chronic NCDs.

Among these are 14 countries implementing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, including high-profile examples Mexico and the UK, statutory restrictions on unhealthy food marketing to children in Ireland and South Korea, and mandatory restrictions on the salt content of certain processed foods in South Africa and Argentina.

Increasingly, national efforts are being driven by action at an international level, with the World Health Organization and the United Nations creating a global framework for chronic disease prevention, including measurable, time-bound targets, and monitoring and implementation mechanisms.

The incoming federal government has the opportunity to find surer footing on food and nutrition policy.

Given the health, social, and economic costs at stake, it remains incumbent upon the public health community to rally support for a more proactive and effective policy response.

Inaction is costing our community already, with overweight and obesity estimated to cause $8.6 billion a year in direct and indirect costs, such as absenteeism and foregone tax revenue. We can also challenge voters, communities and public health advocates to unite around a more comprehensive policy platform for improving nutrition and preventing diet-related NCDs.

It is time for Australia to take strong leadership in nutrition policy.

We suggest seven ways to do so, following this federal election:

•    Establish a dedicated, comprehensive policy framework for improving nutrition and diet-related health, with specific, measurable targets on key nutrition indicators, accompanied by monitoring and accountability mechanisms.
•    Ensure universal nutrition education for all primary school aged children – regardless of their socio-economic situation or geographic location.
•    Renew focus on nutrition and dietary health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including dedicated, national-level Indigenous nutrition policy, and structural and regulatory changes to improve the accessibility and affordability of healthy food.
•    Tighten urban planning laws to encourage access to fresh food vendors while easing the density of junk food outlets.
•    Strengthen regulation of food reformulation, interpretive labelling, and food marketing to children.
•    Introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, with funds going towards an appropriate public health cause such as improving childhood nutrition or public dental care.
•    Invest in cost-effective nutrition and NCD-prevention policies and programs, accompanied by tracking and monitoring of the impact of spending on population health.

Australia is a global leader in tobacco control, and we can do it again in relation to food governance. But to move from laggard to leader we need a federal government with the fortitude to tackle vested industry interests, to untangle the complex relationships between sustainability, equity and nutrition, and to commit to policies and laws that enable all Australians to access fresh, nutritious and sustainable food.

Dr Belinda Reeve is a lecturer in law at the University of Sydney. Alexandra Jones is a lawyer leading the George Institute’s Food Policy Division’s program on regulatory strategies to prevent diet-related disease. They are lead organisers of the Food Governance Conference, a collaborative endeavor between the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, Sydney Law School, the George Institute for Global Health, and the Cancer Research Network. The conference will be held at Sydney Law School on 1-3 November this year, and will cover a range of topics related to nutrition and sustainability, equity and innovation in the food system. The call for abstracts is open until Friday 15 July. The authors would like to thank Dr Josephine Gwynn and Dr Sandro Demaio for their comments on various parts of this piece.

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper


Page 9

NACCHO Aboriginal health and nutrition : Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food to partner with our Apunipima Cape York Health Council


A culinary classroom on wheels run by Jamie’s Ministry of Food will visit the remote Aboriginal community of Mossman Gorge in north Queensland this June to deliver a five-week, hands-on cooking program to interested locals.

The mobile food kitchen, a huge truck spanning 15 metres in length bearing the celebrity chef’s branding, will operate in Mossman Gorge from 13 June, providing cheap ‘Jamie-style’ cooking lessons, recipes and tips to help locals make nutritional food, fast and on a budget.

Original Published NITV

PHOTO ABOVE : Jamie’s Ministry of Food Mobile Kitchen recently rolled out its home cooking program in an Aboriginal community for the first time. Here’s a sneak peek of what the residents of Cherbourg (Australia’s 3rd largest Aboriginal community) thought about the program.

The upcoming program, marking the van’s second-ever visit to an Indigenous community in Australia, will aim to empower families with the confidence needed to improve their diet and in-turn, their health.

“The food we want to cook is not unattainable and it uses basic ingredients,” says food trainer for Jamie’s Ministry of Food mobile kitchen, Bree Kennedy.

“By participating in these classes, people will gain confidence in the kitchen to make meals from scratch.

“Once you have that sort of confidence ignited within yourself, it is infectious. I see it every day.”

Jamie Oliver’s traveling food education program will be delivered in the Daintree community by The Good Foundation with support from Apunipima Cape York Health Council (ACYHC) and Mossman Gorge’s governing body, Bamanganga Bubu Ngadimunku.

Community nutritionist at ACYHC and Torres Strait Islander woman, Carny Thompson, explains that her nutrition team helped get the Ministry of Food’s Mobile Kitchen to the Gorge.

“There’s been a lot of consultation that has taken place to enable us to host the program,” she says.

“It’s such a great opportunity for the area and pretty exciting to have a mobile kitchen come to town.”

Community-wide consultation and elder input has enabled the program’s organisers to modify the cooking classes to suit local needs and respect traditions.

“We are approaching the community from a place of great respect, as well as respect for the traditional owners of the land and traditional food customs of sharing and ritual,” adds Ms Kennedy.

“The local community has told us they do a lot of batch cooking to provide food for, sometimes for eight people. So we want to make sure our recipes are adaptable to that situation.

“The food trainers and myself also want to cook food that is traditional for local participants. For example, ordinarily we might use beef mince in a recipe but we could talk about the benefits of using kangaroo mince instead.”

“Once you have that sort of confidence ignited within yourself, it is infectious. I see it every day.”

According to the Queensland Health Preventive Health Survey (2015), more than two-thirds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in Queensland are overweight or obese.

Indigenous Queenslanders are also 12 per cent more likely to be overweight or obese than non-Indigenous Queenslanders.

Mossman Gorge has seen its fair share of health programs operate within the community. But Ms Thompson truly believes this community-based course could change people’s eating habits.

“I think a program like this is really good because it targets families and encourages people to develop cooking skills and knowledge around food.

“When parents or aunties and uncles go along and learn how to cook healthy, affordable food, it’s a great opportunity to pass that information onto young people and children.

“We would really like local community members to participate in the program. We want people to learn new ideas about food and hold onto them, and carry them through to their families.”

SEE NACCHO NEWS : An invitation to Jamie Oliver from the Wadeye community

 The Cherbourg community get involved in Jamie's Ministry of Food program in 2015

The Cherbourg community get involved in Jamie’s Ministry of Food program in 2015 (supplied).

The Cherbourg community get involved in Jamie’s Ministry of Food program in 2015.

The upcoming visit to Mossman Gorge is a first for Jamie’s mobile kitchen. The van, one of two in Australia, visited the Indigenous community in Queensland’s Cherbourg last year.

A program evaluation, conducted by Deakin University and University of Melbourne, showed that participants who completed the Cherbourg course, gained new cooking skills and food knowledge, were more confident in cooking meals from scratch, purchased and consumed more vegetables and spent less on take away foods.

Research also found that participation in the course brought families together to share a meal around the table, and that behavioural changes were sustained six months after completing the course.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do this job for a year and a half, and facilitate those changes,” says Ms Kennedy. “I’ve witnessed those changes and seen that food is a real instigator that influences people’s habits.

“Five weeks may not seem like a long time to change people’s habits but it’s a great place to start.”

Get involved

  • There are around 180 spots available for Mossman Gorge locals aged 12 and above.
  • The course will be run by food trainers and volunteers.
  • Locals can either drop in for a single class at $2 each or participate in the whole five-week program, attending one class once a week for a subsidised amount of $10.
  • The mobile kitchen will be located on Mossman Gorge Road, Mossman Gorge, Queensland.

For more information on the program, visit The Good Foundation.


NACCHO Aboriginal #AHWW Healthy Weight Week : We can close the Indigenous nutrition gap – here’s how


After years of neglect and a notable absence in last week’s Closing the Gap report, nutrition is finally being recognised as integral to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

This article is part of the NACCHO series for #AHWW Healthy Weight Week

This belated realisation is puzzling, given poor diet is a major cause of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and some cancers. Nutrition is particularly poor in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, where it is estimated that at least 19% of the burden of disease is due to poor diet; much more than due to smoking.

From Amanda Lee The Conversation

Unhealthy discretionary (“junk”) foods that are high in salt, fat or sugar make up more than 41% of the energy intake of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia.

On top of this, more than 20% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders report running out of food during the last 12 months and not being able to afford to buy more.

One of the rejected Close the Gap equity targets was that, by 2018, 90% of Indigenous families could access a healthy food basket for less than 25% of their income. But healthy foods can still cost double this.

What works

Improving nutrition can be complex, but the people of Minjilang in Arnhem Land showed in the early 1990s that rapid, marked and sustained health improvements are possible. In just 12 months, the community achieved a reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (12%), lowered blood pressure (8%), improved vitamin levels, weight and diabetes.

The main reason for success was that the multi-strategy Survival Tucker program was directed by the community.

However, these positive results have not been widely replicated.

Improving nutrition is complicated but it’s possible. Sophie Nelson and son Juriahus in Pipalyatjara, South Australia. Photo by Suzanne Bryce, NPY Women’s Council

What doesn’t work

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan 2000-2010 provided a framework to address both food supply and demand. But while evaluation showed some promising results, particularly in workforce development, implementation was poorly resourced and patchy.

In 2009, the Council of Australian Governments developed the National Strategy for Food Security in Remote Indigenous Communities. Again, a subsequent audit found that resourcing had been poor, so few outcomes were achieved.

Since 2010, there has been a nutrition policy vacuum in Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and health services persevere, but efforts tend to be opportunistic, fractured and ad hoc due to lack of resources, support and coordination.

Current projects mainly focus on nutrition education of children and school-based activities including gardening. Healthy lifestyle workers were involved in some of these activities but are being phased out.

Remote community store groups such as Arnhem Land Progress Association and Retail Stores in Queensland, have confirmed the benefits of store nutrition policies.

Outback Stores was established by the Commonwealth government in 2006 to improve diet in remote communities. This publicly funded venture provides little transparency around nutrition data, but last week admitted to selling 1.1 million litres of sugar-sweetened soft drink per year in its 36 stores.

Most recent nutrition research efforts focus on cutting high sugar intakes or increasing the intake of fruit and vegetables. But while these seem like obvious targets, it’s not that simple.

Our recent study describes efforts to improve nutrition over the past 30 years in Central Australian communities now serviced by Mai Wiru Regional Stores Council. It shows that some improvements have been made: decreasing sugar (from 30% to 22% of energy intake), increasing availability and affordability of fruit and vegetables leading to a doubling of consumption, and consequent improvement in some nutrient intakes.

However, the overall effect has been a decrease in total diet quality. “Junk” food’s contribution to the average energy intake increased by 3%, with locals consuming more sugar-sweetened soft drinks, convenience meals such as microwavable pizzas and unhealthy take-away foods.

During this time, Mai Wiru also lost funding for its nutritionist.

Reforms need to improve availability, affordability, accessibility and promotion of healthy food. Christine Watson, Mutitjulu, NT. Photo by Suzanne Bryce, NPY Women’s Council

These results confirm that Aboriginal communities can exert control over some aspects of their food supply. But overall, concerted action and more resources are required to help communities tackle the broader impacts of the current Australian food system on our health.

A major barrier is that community stores are seen as small businesses rather than as essential services and are subject to commercial pressures to sell cheap, unhealthy food at high profit margins.

One worrying recent example is the advent of private-enterprise bakeries in Northern Territory communities. These are promoted as providing local employment opportunities and solutions to food insecurity but mainly sell unhealthy options.

What more needs to be done?

Evidence-based nutrition programs are required urgently in urban, rural and remote locations.

Reforms must include structural and regulatory changes to improve availability, affordability, accessibility and promotion of healthy food. Increased community capacity to prepare, cook and store healthy foods is also essential, for example, by improving housing.

Evidence-based economic interventions such as freight-subsidies, cross-subsidisation of healthy food and “fat taxes” need to be trialled.

Effective primary care strategies such as targeted family support, “well person’s health checks”, breastfeeding promotion and infant growth assessment and action programs are ready and waiting for funding to be implemented and expanded.

Above all, to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition and health we need real community consultation, improved public governance and political will.


Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Close the Gap Campaign for the governments of Australia to commit to achieving equality  for Indigenous people in the areas of health and  life expectancy within 25 years.

Response to this NACCHO media initiative has been nothing short of sensational, with feedback from around the country suggesting we really kicked a few positive goals for national Aboriginal health.

Thanks to all our supporters, most especially our advertisers, NACCHO’S Aboriginal Health News is here to stay.

We are now looking to all our members, programs and sector stakeholders for advertising, compelling articles, eye-catching images and commentary for inclusion in our next edition April 6

This 24-page newspaper is produced and distributed as an insert in the Koori Mail, circulating 14,000 full-colour print copies nationally via newsagents and subscriptions.

Our audited readership (Audit Bureau of Circulations) is 100,000 readers!

More info and rate card HERE


NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert :We can’t close the gap on health unless we talk about nutrition


The 2016 Closing the Gap report, released today, makes little mention of Australia’s biggest failure in closing the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: food and nutrition issues.

Watch the Prime Ministers Close the Gap speech in Parliament

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal the alarming prevalence of food insecurity among Australia’s Indigenous people.

One in five adults have signs of chronic kidney disease – twice that of non-Indigenous Australians. The Lancet has reported on the case of a five-year-old girl diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Malnutrition persists in remote communities with unacceptably high rates of anaemia among pregnant women, infants and young children.

Diet is the single most important factor in the chronic disease epidemic facing Aboriginal communities. However, the role of diet is not widely acknowledged.

PHOTO Above Wayne Quilliam : Page 3 This weeks Koori Mail

The thriving Walgett Community Market Garden, overflowing with vegetables, is providing health benefits to the local Walgett community. The garden was set up three years ago, and is a joint venture between the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service and the Australian Government funded Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation.

The success of the community garden is largely due to the dedication and hard work of head gardener, Sophia Byers, and her enthusiastic team.

Sophia said the community garden was making a positive difference to the whole community.

The garden is pretty much benefiting everybody. Not only the people with chronic illnesses, but we are also teaching the local women’s group to make mashed potato and incorporate different vegies so the kids get used to it,” Sophia said.

While smoking and alcohol have become the public faces of the crisis, their effects pale in comparison to the impact of diet and nutrition. Yet there are no references to food, nutrition or diet anywhere in COAG’s Closing the Gap health strategy. Smoking, by contrast, is mentioned 25 times.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, particularly in remote and regional areas, face significant challenges to food quality and access.

Food staples are highly refined and of poor nutritional quality, with a proliferation of cheap, highly processed unhealthy foods. There are infrequent deliveries of fresh foods, which are extremely expensive, and their high cost is amplified by low employment rates and low income.

The terrible irony is that Australia’s First Peoples lived for tens of thousands of years in good health before European settlement, supported by highly sophisticated and sustainable systems of food production, agriculture, estate management and trade.

Archaeologists can date the age of an Aboriginal skull as before or after colonisation by the state of its teeth – signs of plaque and decay appear only after European settlement.

Successive governments have pledged their commitment to closing the health gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, leaving a trail of abandoned policies and half-implemented plans in their wake.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan 2000-2010 was launched with great fanfare, but it was three years before a project officer was appointed to co-ordinate the implementation.

An evaluation report on the strategy – made public this year following a freedom of information request – showed that at its highest level of funding, the strategy had only enough funding to employ 1.2 full-time equivalent project staff.

Queensland and the Northern Territory have both had considerable success with the development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and nutrition workforce to operate within communities.

However, their early gains have been reversed. In Queensland, the jobs of more than 140 primary prevention experts, 30 per cent of whom were improving Indigenous community food supply and diet, were slashed to just 14 workers by the Newman government.

Food and nutrition policy and plans are palpably absent at the Commonwealth level.

The 2016 Closing the Gap report, released this morning by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, includes just one short paragraph addressing nutrition.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 appeared to have a renewed focus on nutrition, with three recommendations that acknowledge the issue of food insecurity and the importance of nutrition early in life, and a key goal to develop a national nutrition policy.

However, the federal government changed soon after the health plan was released, and only recently released the implementation plan, a year overdue.

The plan does not include the recommended national nutrition policy, and references to nutrition are scant and vague.

There is a very real risk that nutrition will continue to be invisible unless strong co-ordination is prioritised.

The three goals in the plan related to diabetes all refer to management, with no mention of prevention, which is delayed until the 2018 revision of the plan. It’s as if the government would rather pay for dialysis carts than improve the food supply.

Australia must commit to system-level change processes that draw on Aboriginal communities as partners with a range of stakeholders. Though many solutions are complex, long-term and whole of life, our world-class health system can do better.

In the meantime, encouragingly, there are ways to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition that we already know will work.

We have evidence for the success of community-based and led programs to improve food supply and cost, promote healthy food options and improve food storage facilities.

Solutions can be as simple as providing refrigerators for fresh food, offering healthy takeaway choices, subsidising freight on fresh fruit and vegetables and increasing the variety of healthy foods available.

It’s time for governments to develop a national Indigenous health strategy that is implemented, resourced and governed properly – without falling prey to frequently changing governments and administrations.

It should be a multi-sector strategy, with the acceptance and engagement of community leaders. And it should include meaningful ways to improve diet and nutrition.

We know the scale of the problem, we know that governments have failed to deliver, and we know what works. Let’s seize the opportunity to work together to close the nutrition gap to extend the basic right of good health to all Australians – to all our benefits.

Professor Stephen Simpson is academic director of the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and executive director of Obesity Australia.


NACCHO nutrition alert: Menzies and the Fred Hollows Foundation – Improving nutrition in remote communities

Talking about shelf labels

A new resource package focused on improving nutrition in remote stores in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will help to address the poor state of diets in remote Indigenous populations


With support from The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) has developed a Talking about Shelf Labels flipchart and a comprehensive resource manual as part of its Remote Stores Project.

Dietary improvement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is a priority for reducing the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Poor quality diets are a significant risk factor for three of the major causes of premature death – cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Research Fellow with Menzies’ Nutrition Research Team, Dr Susan Colles said a number of remote communities have previously used shelf labels to highlight healthier food and drink choices to help promote good nutrition in remote community stores.

“But there’s been limited support available, for instance there were no tools for developing, implementing, maintaining and evaluating effective shelf label projects,” Dr Colles said.

The Remote Stores Project worked with four communities across Arnhem Land, Cape York, Central Australia and The Torres Straits, to gather information on what sort of shelf label systems currently existed, which were effective and accepted in communities, what sort of tools were necessary and how to work with local people to develop culturally appropriate shelf label projects.

“In each site we collaborated with local people together with store staff, health professionals and other stakeholders to develop and implement shelf label projects and other activities for their stores,” Dr Colles said.

“The findings from this process were used to form a resource package which will assist health and nutrition staff to work with store staff and communities to develop and evaluate a program based on putting better labelling or “shelf talkers” in community stores,” Dr Colles said.

The resource will benefit Indigenous families, remote nutritionists, remote area store staff and health professionals working in communities.

The ‘Talking about Shelf Labels’ resource package can be used when:

· Talking with community leaders, members and stakeholders about shelf labels to help people decide whether they want a shelf label in their store

· Talking about what people might want or expect from a shelf label program

· Helping people decide what their shelf labels might say or look like, and how to provide clear health messages

· Looking for practical training ideas, and for building effective systems for monitoring and maintaining shelf labels

Dr Colles said the resource package also focuses on the promotion of strong partnerships with community store staff. She hopes that people working in remote nutrition and food supply will access the tools andwork in conjunction with communities to promote healthy food choices.

The Remote Stores Project was funded through The Fred Hollows Foundation. Menzies would like to thank all communities, store organisations and stakeholder organisations that participated in this study.

A small number of hard copies of the ‘Talking about shelf labels’ flipchart are available by contacting Karen Black on Ph: 08 8922 6541

The resource manual is available upon request contact: Richmond Hodgson (Media contact) on 08 8922 8438 or 0408 128 099

Background: Menzies School of Health Research are Australia’s only Medical Research Institute dedicated to improving Indigenous health and wellbeing. We have a 27-year history of scientific discovery and public health achievement. Menzies work at the frontline and collaborate broadly, partnering with over 60 Indigenous communities across Northern Australia to create resources, grow local skills, and find enduring solutions to problems that matter.