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Is Aboriginal nutrition a priority for local government? A policy analysis

  • Catherine Helson (a1), Ruth Walker (a1), Claire Palermo (a1), Kim Rounsefell (a1), Yudit Aron (a1), Catherine MacDonald (a2), Petah Atkinson (a2) and Jennifer Browne (a2)...

Abstract

Objective

The present study aimed to explore how Australian local governments prioritise the health and well-being of Aboriginal populations and the extent to which nutrition is addressed by local government health policy.

Design

In the state of Victoria, Australia, all seventy-nine local governments’ public health policy documents were retrieved. Inclusion of Aboriginal health and nutrition in policy documents was analysed using quantitative content analysis. Representation of Aboriginal nutrition ‘problems’ and ‘solutions’ was examined using qualitative framing analysis. The socio-ecological framework was used to classify the types of Aboriginal nutrition issues and strategies within policy documents.

Setting

Victoria, Australia.

Subjects

Local governments’ public health policy documents (n 79).

Results

A small proportion (14 %, n 11) of local governments addressed Aboriginal health and well-being in terms of nutrition. Where strategies aimed at nutrition existed, they mostly focused on individual factors rather than the broader macroenvironment.

Conclusions

A limited number of Victorian local governments address nutrition as a health issue for their Aboriginal populations in policy documents. Nutrition needs to be addressed as a community and social responsibility rather than merely an individual ‘behaviour’. Partnerships are required to ensure Aboriginal people lead government policy development.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Email claire.palermo@monash.edu

Footnotes

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In this paper, the term ‘Aboriginal’ is used to refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in Victoria and Australia.

Footnotes

References

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