Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience significantly poorer health outcomes compared with other Australians. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes are responsible for the majority of the 'gap' in Indigenous life expectancy. Promoting good nutrition and physical activity is an essential component needed in order to 'Close the Gap' in life expectancy for Aboriginal people in Victoria. The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) is committed to improving nutrition and physical activity, and has developed a nutrition and physical activity strategy, subtitled 'Policy proposals for promoting healthy eating and physical activity among Indigenous Victorians 2009-2014'.
The strategy was developed after a comprehensive review of the Indigenous health promotion literature and a state-wide consultation process. It recommends strategies and actions that will build on current activities of VACCHO and its members. It also recommends strategies for consideration by the State Government in a coordinated approach to preventing chronic disease in Victorian Aboriginal communities.
The Aboriginal view of health is holistic, that is it incorporates a whole-of life approach to the physical, social and cultural wellbeing of the community. Therefore this strategy recognises that action by the health sector alone will not be sufficient to close the gap. It is intended that this Nutrition and Physical Activity Strategy is just one part of a coordinated, intersectoral response to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage which includes action across other key dimensions such as housing, employment and education.
This strategy identifies priorities within eight key action areas. These include:
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract