Healthy Eating and Food Systems

Overview

The Inner East councils have identified healthy eating and access to safe and nutritious food as a priority in their Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plans. Increasing Healthy Eating is a focus area for the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2019 – 2023.

The Inner East PCP works in collaboration with our partners to support the implementation of best-practice approaches to improve the food system of the Inner East and prevent obesity and chronic diseases. In partnership with Outer East PCP, we coordinate the Healthy Choices Community of Practice to bring together practitioners who work to promote healthy eating in their regions.

We follow a social determinants approach and identify early life as a critical stage for prevention to promote healthy eating and shape healthy food preferences and dietary habits. We are working in consultation with Eastern Metropolitan Region Maternal and Child Health services to develop a resource for parents that draws attention to the harmful effects of children’s diets high in sugar, using a story framework and ‘values based messaging’ to guide the content of this resource. This approach aims to engage people around values that resonate, as opposed to trying to persuade people with just facts or data, helping parents recognise sugar in foods and building their  knowledge and confidence to choose lower sugar options.

Access to fresh and nutritious food is a key focus to change the environment and ensure greater access to the population across all settings where food is provided (workplaces, schools, sporting clubs etc). There are also specific priority populations that experience food insecurity and don’t have the necessary means to purchase fresh and nutritious food. Taking a food systems approach to these wicked problems helps us to identify opportunities and leverage points to promote change.

Why is healthy eating and food systems a priority?

The rising prevalence of overweight and obesity remains an AIHW National Health Priority Area in Australia. Over the last three decades, prevalence has steadily increased. Sixty two percent of Australian adults and 24% of children and adolescents are classified as overweight or obese. One in three children are now overweight or obese and AIHW statistics highlight that rates in Victoria jumped from 23.4% in 2011 to 30.8% in 2014, higher than any other state or territory in Australia. As a result, all State and local governments have incorporated action to prevent or minimise overweight and obesity in their Health and Wellbeing Plans.

The 1986 Ottawa Charter states that communities should be provided with supportive environments and opportunities to make healthy choices to allow them to achieve their fullest health potential. However, modern lifestyles favour high energy intakes and sedentary behaviours. Behaviours are influenced by obesogenic environments where the surroundings and opportunities to access fresh and nutritious food have the effect of promoting obesity in populations.

In order to achieve a healthy diet, individuals need to have the physical, social and economic access to safe, sufficient and nutritious foods that meets their dietary needs and food preferences. Food security means having a sustainable food system that ensures access for all to nutritionally adequate, affordable, culturally acceptable and safe food. Food security considers sustainability; accessibility; affordability; cultural appropriateness; nutritional adequacy, and food safety.

Resources:

Title Date Type Author Files
The Well Healthy Eating & Active Living portal

Understand the theory and context behind healthy eating and active living, learn about the evidence base, local resources, add your own project, access regional data to support planning

10/06/2021 Website IEPCP/OEPCP
Obesity Prevention Platform for Melbourne’s Eastern Region

The Inner East Primary Care Partnership (IEPCP) and Outer East Primary Care Partnership (OEPCP), with Victorian Department of Health and Human Services funding contracted Health Futures Australia (HFA) to develop a regional Prevention Platform through an Innovation Lab that unites and aligns local leaders in the East, which incubates innovation and builds capability for transformational system change.

21/09/2020 Document
Using Systems Thinking to Prevent Obesity in EMR Melbourne
08/05/2020 Document Deakin University Global Obesity Centre
Charter and Roadmap for PreventionEAST.Lab
08/05/2020 Document Health Futures Australia
IEPCP 2019 Case Study Obesity Prevention
19/11/2019 Document Inner East Primary Care Partnership
Swinburne University submission to the Senate Select Committee into the Obesity Epidemic in Australia

Endorsed by Women’s Health Victoria and Health at Every Size Australia

10/09/2018 Report Swinburne University of Technology
A Case for Change: Boroondara

Gathering the evidence for healthy food and drink initiatives:Boroondara

05/01/2017 Report Inner East Primary Care Partnership
A Case for Change: Manningham

Gathering the evidence for healthy food and drink initiatives: Manningham

05/01/2017 Report Inner East Primary Care Partnership
A Case for Change: Monash

Gathering the evidence for healthy food and drink initiatives: Monash

05/01/2017 Report Inner East Primary Care Partnership
A Case for Change: Whitehorse

Gathering the evidence for healthy food and drink initiatives: Whitehorse

05/01/2017 Resource Inner East Primary Care Partnership
A Case for Change

Gathering the evidence for healthy food and drink initiatives in Melbourne’s inner east.

05/01/2017 Report Inner East Primary Care Partnership
Catchment Area Assessment of the Food Environment

Summary of the catchment area assessment for developing a coordinated and targeted food access strategy in the Inner East Region of Melbourne.

05/01/2017 Document Inner East Primary Care Partnership
From Farm to Fork

Investigating the food system to improve food security in the Eastern Metropolitan Region of Victoria: Project Report 2015

05/01/2017 Report Inner East Primary Care Partnership
We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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