Nutritious, safe and affordable food

Eating well is important for good health. Eating a variety of everyday foods helps us maintain our health, feel good and have energy.

Breastfeeding babies keeps them healthy and strong and helps to prevent health problems later in life.Nutritious, safe and affordable food

How big is the problem?

Poor access to nutritious, safe and affordable food is an issue in Tasmania. Not eating well can lead to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, poor wound healing in older people and dental problems in children and adults.  It can also lead to foodborne illness (food poisoning) if the food eaten is unsafe.

Here are some statistics:

  • Only a small percentage of adults eat the recommended fruit and vegetable intake
  • Two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese
  • Some households, such as those living on lower incomes, experience food insecurity (which means running out of food and unable to buy more, or having to buy poor quality food because that’s all you can afford)
  • Australians eat 2 to 4 times the amount of salt needed
  • Only 25% (one quarter) of Australian babies are still being breastfed until 12 months of age

What are the barriers to eating well?

Unhealthy food is all around us!  Unhealthy food and drink are advertised heavily and are supplied in abundance in the settings we live, learn and work. Our food supply has changed and the food we eat is more processed than ever, the serving sizes larger and often loaded with fat, salt, and sugar. These unhealthy foods are often priced to be more affordable than healthier options.

Cost, affordability, and low availability of healthy food in some geographical areas are all barriers to food security.

While most babies are breastfed initially, this rate drops off dramatically in the first six months.  The barriers to breastfeeding include:

  • Lack of knowledge about breastfeeding
  • Difficulties with breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding is not common in some communities
  • Poor family and social support
  • Embarrassment about breastfeeding in public
  • Returning to work and accessing supportive childcare
  • Promotion and marketing of infant formula which makes it seem like infant formula is the same

What can we do?

  • Teach people about growing, cooking and the benefits of eating well.
  • Reduce exposure of children to unhealthy food and drink marketing
  • Make healthier food and drink options available in our childcare, schools and workplace settings.
  • Implement breastfeeding promotion and protection strategies (see Breastfeeding Coalition Tasmania)
  • Promote, local, healthy seasonally grown food.

Health at Any Size

Strategies that focus on healthy food supply and healthy behaviours, rather than a focus on reducing body size, is the most useful way to support people of all sizes to take care of their health.