VicHealth supports approaches that increase the supply of and access to healthy food in Victoria by working with all levels of government, business, nutrition experts, non-government organisations and the community to advance food policy, planning, reformulation and regulation.
A healthy diet is vital for optimal growth, development and health throughout life and contributes to physical vitality, mental health and social wellbeing (WHO 2003). VicHealth also recognises and supports the importance of combining regular physical activity with nutritious foods to help maintain a healthy weight.
Diet-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer are the major causes of death and disability among Australians. Not eating enough healthy foods or eating too much of the foods that are high in saturated fat, salt and added sugar are often major contributors to these conditions (NHMRC 2013).
Approaches to promote healthy eating should include a combination of whole-of-population interventions and action designed specifically for disadvantaged populations that experience the greatest burden of poor nutrition. Interventions need to target the critical points in time and the key settings where food choices are influenced and made.
A comprehensive and multi-layered approach will contribute to VicHealth’s goal to promote healthy eating, by encouraging more Victorians to adopt a healthy diet by choosing water and healthy food options. To achieve these objectives, ongoing action is needed across the following areas:
- Initiatives that increase the supply of and access to fruit and vegetables in Victoria, including targeted strategies for those experiencing disadvantage.
- Enabling Victorians to make informed healthy food choices , including strategies such as universal implementation of an easily understood front-of-pack labelling system.
- Reduce the marketing of unhealthy foods particularly to children through action such as stronger regulation.
- The promotion of water as the healthy drink choice, including initiatives to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and increase access to water.
- Salt reduction strategies that increase the supply, demand and access to lower-salt foods, to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in the average intake of salt across the Victorian population.
VicHealth partners with sport, government, active travel and recreation agencies, the arts, workplaces and academia to create opportunities for Victorians to make physical activity a part of their daily lives.
|National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2013, Australian dietary guidelines, National Health and Medical Research Council, Canberra.
|World Health Organization (WHO) 2003, Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases: report of a joint WHO/FAO expert consultation, World Health Organization, Geneva.|