Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition and health

Amanda J Lee, Dympna Leonard, Aletia A Moloney and Deanne L Minniecon
Med J Aust 2009; 190 (10): 547-548.

Economic interventions to improve access to healthy food

Poor nutrition is a major determinant of excess morbidity and mortality among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,1 contributing to over 16% of the burden of disease.2 In this issue of the Journal (page 549), consistent with the “economics of food choice” theory,3 Brimblecombe and O’Dea report that the diet of a remote Aboriginal community was high in energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods — the cheapest options to satisfy hunger.4 This energy–cost differential restricts access to healthy food, and helps explain the persistently poor dietary patterns and deplorable health status of remote Indigenous communities.4 Placing nutrition issues in an economic framework highlights the investment required to improve Indigenous nutrition.4 But what has been learned to date about where resources should be directed?

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  • Amanda J Lee2
  • Dympna Leonard3
  • Aletia A Moloney3
  • Deanne L Minniecon2

  • 1 School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 Population Health Queensland, Queensland Health, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 3 Tropical Population Health Services, Queensland Health, Cairns, QLD.


We thank Sharon Laurence, Senior Project Officer, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan, for useful comments.

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