When you can’t afford to eat a healthy diet, you eat what you can afford. Not having ongoing access to a healthy diet makes you food insecure.
David Butt, CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance, welcomed the release of the AMA Statement on Obesity today and agreed that addressing obesity is a major public health issue.
The Alliance recently authored a major report on Food Security and Health in Rural and Remote Australia for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. “What the Alliance found was that malnutrition and obesity are both linked to food insecurity and that between 5 and 8 percent of the population are considered to be food insecure” said Mr Butt.
“There is also strong evidence that obesity is linked to poorer health and greater risk of chronic disease.
“The Alliance strongly supports the need for a whole of society approach to addressing obesity and access to healthy, affordable food. Unless we address the reasons why people make the food choices they do, we will continue to see rapid growth in the level of obesity in the community.”
The major findings of the report were that:
- Food insecurity can have a whole of life health impact, which is reversible with early intervention.
- We need more Australian research on food insecurity and its impacts.
- The price of healthy food in rural and remote communities can make accessing a healthy diet difficult.
“The Alliance is eager to work with the AMA, Government and other agencies to affect change in this important policy area,” Mr Butt said.