Nutrition

Good nutrition is essential for healthy growth and development in childhood, and ongoing health and wellbeing, but many Western Australians’ diets are inconsistent with the Eat for Health national recommendations (external link).

Projects

Live Lighter East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS)

Live Lighter is a Western Australian Department of Health public health social marketing program to encourage people to eat well, be physically active and maintain a healthy weight.

We work with Live Lighter to deliver a number of projects, including:

  • Piloting Live Lighter Today – a tailored Online Diet and Activity pilot in EMHS based around Live Lighter.
  • Facilitating partnerships with local government to increase the reach of Live Lighter.
  • Working across EMHS hospital sites to implement a range of strategies based on the Live Lighter campaign to increase the demand for healthy options by staff, patients and visitors.

Food Access and Costs Survey

Food prices and food affordability are important determinants of food choices, obesity and major chronic diseases. The Food Access and Cost Survey looks at changes in food access, cost, quality and affordability. It has previously been carried out in 2010 and 2013 by the Chronic Disease Prevention Branch across Western Australia.

The latest version of this survey was carried out across the East Metropolitan area. We coordinated the metro-wide survey, and the data was collected largely by local governments with support from our Health Promotion team. The collated data is currently being analysed, with results to be made available once the survey report is finalised.

Prevalence of food insecurity

Food insecurity exists “whenever the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire acceptable food in socially acceptable ways is limited or uncertain” (Radimer, 2002).

Family members in food insecure households are more likely to report poorer health and depressive symptoms and have higher risks for chronic diseases like obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Furthermore, the risk of obesity is 20 to 40% higher among people affected by food insecurity.

Food insecure patients managing chronic diseases like diabetes are also more likely to have poorer control potentially leading to poorer health outcomes.

Prior to 2017 the WA Health and Wellbeing Surveillance System had one question asking about food insecurity. Evidence from other countries indicates this is likely to underestimate the prevalence of food insecurity. EMHS has facilitated the addition of a validated set of questions to increase understanding of the prevalence of food insecurity and to enable more effective targeting of interventions for the metropolitan area.

Initiatives across the East Metropolitan Health Service

Health is influenced by a range of environmental and social factors. This project involves an audit of physical activity, nutrition and obesity prevention programs across the 13 local government areas in the EMHS catchment area. This will be followed by a network analysis of stakeholders within the system.

The purpose of this project is to create a better understanding of the local physical activity nutrition and obesity prevention system.

From the information gathered points for effective intervention will be identified and changes monitored. This is the first time a project of this kind has been carried out in the Perth metropolitan area.

This project is being conducted in partnership with Curtin University and the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and Cancer Council WA.

Healthy Options WA Policy (EMHS Food and Nutrition Policy)

The purpose of the Healthy Options WA Policy is to ensure healthy options are available to all staff and visitors at WA health hospital, health services and workplaces.

The EMHS Health Promotion team works to identify coordinate and implement strategies to increase compliance with the Healthy Options Policy. In addition, the team monitors and reviews the policy as required.

Last Updated: 09/05/2019