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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Nutritionists warn gap won't close if Indigenous diet doesn't improve

Date posted: 30 November -0001

Australian nutritionists are warning that an emphasis on nutrition, and not just smoking and drinking, is required in Indigenous communities for the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to close.

Nutritionist Jennifer Browne works at the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), and she says a poor diet is the biggest single reason Indigenous Australians die, on average, about ten years before their non-Indigenous counterparts. 'The conditions that are responsible for the gap are all nutrition related. Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers. Alongside smoking, nutrition and obesity are the leading causes of the gap,' she says.

However there is concern that nutrition is disappearing from the national Aboriginal health agenda, with the ten year national Indigenous nutrition strategy having expired, as well as the plans set up by individual states.

Jennifer Browne believes Australia needs to reintroduce a national strategy to tackle diet-related disease in Indigenous communities. 'I think we need to start with the workforce. We need well trained Aboriginal nutrition workers, a specialist workforce.'

Source: ABC News


Last updated: 6 August 2014
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