A national approach to food and nutrition

The recently released National Preventive Health Strategy is an important step in the right direction for the health of Australia. 

This strategy recognises the pivotal role that food and nutrition plays in good health 

The National Preventive Health Strategy also proposes systemic changes that will make it easier for Australians to adopt healthy diets.  

For the strategy to be effective, it needs to:  

  • Focus on food literacy in schools 
  • Make healthier foods cheaper and easier to access 
  • Boost investment in Australia’s food production sector, focusing on healthier foods 
  • Foster and encourage social connections through food 
  • Increase spending on preventive health 

It also recommends all nutrition and food action in Australia be guided by a specific national policy document.  

Dietitians Australia provided comment on the draft strategy. Read our submission and media release.

Nourish not Neglect

Dietitians Australia has been calling for a national focus on food and nutrition for many years.  

In 2019, we released the report  Nourish not Neglect: Putting health on our nation’s table.

This report outlines the social and economic costs of poor nutrition, and the importance of a coordinated and collaborative approach to our nutritional health.  

We want a new nutrition policy to: 

  • make Australians healthier  
  • support the role of dietitians 
  • promote healthy nutrition programs  
  • reduce the rising cost of diet-related chronic disease
  • inform government and non-government health agencies

Why we need a new approach

Australia last updated its national nutrition policy in 1992. Since that time, the diet-related health of Australians has become worse. 

27,500 people die a preventable death each year from an unhealthy diet [1]

Many diseases are caused or exacerbated by a poor diet [2], including: 

  • heart disease 
  • stroke 
  • type 2 diabetes 
  • bowel cancer
  • lung cancer

Food insecurity is also on the rise in Australia.  

We’re at a turning point for the nutritional health of our nation. The social and economic costs of Australia’s poor diet-related health are growing.  

The National Preventive Health Strategy, along with updated food and nutrition policies, have the potential to deliver many health, environmental and productivity benefits to Australians 

Get in touch

If you have questions about the National Preventive Health Strategy or national food and nutrition policies, contact us at policy@dietitiansaustralia.org.au  

[1] Crosland P, Ananthapavan J, Davison J et al. 2019. The health burden of preventable disease in Australia: a systematic review. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 43(2):163-170. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12882.

[2] AIHW 2019. Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015. Australian Burden of Disease series no. 19. Cat. no. BOD 22. Canberra: AIHW