Plans for national nutrition policy

A NATIONAL nutrition strategy should be developed, according to the peak body for Australian dieticians.

In a submission to the food plan green plan, the Dieticians Association of Australia has proposed a national policy be developed as part of the National Food Plan to improve Australian health.

While the food plan mentions improved nutrition and health as part of its potential outcomes, it was primarily a plan for the food industry, rather than health groups.

Chief executive Claire Hewat said while trade and economic development were crucial parts of the plan, just as much emphasis should be placed on health.

"Health must be in the mix when discussing food policy, especially given the high rates of diet-related chronic diseases in Australia.

"You simply can't divorce food from health," she said.

Ms Hewat joins a growing chorus of health groups, including Dr Rosemary Stanton, who have been calling for nutrition to play a greater role in the plan.

She said the plan should include co-operation between the agriculture, food manufacturing industry and health and environment groups.

"Without co-operation between the agriculture and food industry sectors, and other sectors such as health, transport, housing, environment and education, we'll be fighting a losing battle when it comes to improving the nutritional status of Australians," she said.

It is understood Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig was still considering the next steps for the green paper, while Health Minister Tanya Plibersek was currently out of the country.DAA called for:

  • The National Food Plan to be integrated with a proposed new National Nutrition Policy.
  • Continued funding for food and nutrition monitoring and surveillance to assess changes in food production and health over time, guiding future decision making in food policy.
  • Recognising vulnerable Australians including low income families, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people living in rural or remote areas still experience lower nutrition.

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