Quarter of indigenous lack safe, nutritious food

ALMOST a quarter of indigenous people suffer from a lack of safe, nutritious food, a report by the Public Health Association of Australia showed on Tuesday.

The report, also endorsed by the Red Cross and Dieticians Association, found 24% of indigenous Australians suffered from "food insecurity".

PHAA chief Michael Moore said the results compared with just 5% of the non-indigenous population estimated as suffering from lack of access to "sufficient, safe and nutritious food".

"Factors such as poverty, low or inadequate incomes, poor housing, including basic set-ups to store and prepare food, and less access to nutritious food place these Australians at higher risk," he said.

Dieticians Association of Australia chief Claire Hewat said the high rate of poor nutrition had also led to higher rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The pair called for more to be done on indigenous diet issues, in an effort to improve the health of all Australians, and particularly to address gaps between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other people.

HEALTH ADVOCATES RECOMMEND:

  • Government acknowledge the diet-related health gaps between indigenous and other Australians.
  • Take the lead role in strategies to address, and eventually close, that gap
  • Map and report on actions to improve food and nutritional security
  • Consult directly with indigenous Australians about the best way to execute such initiatives

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