Public Health Assignment: Government Submission & Advocacy Plan
Public Health Assignment Task:
Write a submission to government about one of the following public health nutrition issues:
- Healthy food in public places;
- Food insecurity;
- Experiential nutrition education in schools (cooking, gardening, etc).
For your selected issue:
- Write a formal submission to government on this topic/one aspect of this Hardcopies of this document are considered uncontrolled. This should include a background on the issue, a persuasive argument on the need for action and a ‘call to action’ or what you want government to do about this issue.
- Provide a summary of advocacy activities that you would undertake to support this submission. Describe what and who these activities would involve, when you would do these and your reasons for undertaking these activities.
1. Formal Submission to Government prepared in the Public Health Assignment
7 June 2021
Australian Federal Health department
Dear Ms Edwards,
We are writing on behalf of Nutrition Australia, the non-profit community-based organisation, to address the food and nutrition issues regarding healthy food in public places.
Nutrition Australia non-profit, non-government community-based organisation that operates all over Australia intending to promote Australians' health and well-being. Nutrition Australian is the business name used for The Australian Nutrition Foundation Inc. The partners of Nutrition Australia are connected to the peak nutrition education bodies in Australia. This organisation operates through the National Board and the divisions of the state and the territory.
Australians of every age group are suffering heavily due to unhealthy food habits, and they consume foods with high sugar and salt content which adds fat to their body. Therefore, the Australian population is generally seen suffering from various health-related issues like Type 2 diabetes, CVD and obesity. Food in public places plays a huge role in contributing to such unhealthy food habits of the children and adults, thereby causing diseases like obesity. It has been found that Australians indulge in eating discretionary foods, which causes numerous health problems. According to recent research conducted by the CSIRO, the diets of Australians are the unhealthiest and hold a score of 59 out of 100 in one of the most extensive surveys regarding food and nutrition. The children of Australia have adopted unhealthy food habits more due to the advertisement of discretionary food products in public places. The discretionary foods included potato chips and sweetened beverages, including soft drinks and sweetened beverages and flavoured milk. Out of all the food marketing organisations, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have held the leading position for the advertisement of sweetened drinks.
It has also been seen that alcohol make up 6% of the advertisements of food and beverage advertisements in public places. In Sydney trains, there is a lack of advertising of the food and beverages that make up a healthy diet. Therefore, this plays a major role in contributing to the unhealthy eating habits of society and mainly the children. It was seen from many types of research that food advertisements in public places had taken advantage of the development vulnerability of children as well as adolescents. On average, Australians between the ages of 5-8years are found exposed to approximately 827 unhealthy food advertisements, which have led to the poor health of the children. Most outer space advertisements greater than A4 size appeared in the train stations in the billboards and the vending and telephone boots, bus shelters. Almost 75% of the ads in public spaces contain discretionary products. Local governments of other nations have taken huge initiatives to transform the food and agricultural policies. But in Australia, it could be seen that 23% of the advertisements in the public space comprised of ads of various junk foods like burger, pizza, chips etc. therefore, it was seen that children who are living in Greater Sydney are exposed to food advertisements on discretionary foods while taking trips to their schools. The routes of schools within inner Sydney is found to have a higher rate of ads in public places as the marketers are aware of the higher population density in Inner Sydney.
The continuous exposure of the children to unhealthy food advertisements have demotivated them to adapt to healthy eating habits. The children do not feel convinced about eating healthy food as they are repeatedly exposed to harmful food advertisements on various digital platforms like televisions. The constant exposure of the children to an obesogenic environment has undermined the healthy eating habits of the children. It is in the hands of the state governments to ban or restrict unhealthy food advertisements on the properties owned by the state, like the buses and the trains, so that the exposures to the harmful food advertisements are reduced. Food advertisements play an influential in influencing the eating habits of children. The other state territory governments and the Federal government can play a significant role in bringing a change in the children's eating habits.
The local government and the NSW together can take the initiative to reduce the unhealthy eating habits of the children by putting a restriction on the food advertisements. As food and nutrition play a significant role in the growth and development of the youth and the children, it is imperative to control the eating habits of the individuals by trying to instil healthy eating habits in the children. Advertisements tend to change the eating habits of children. The advertisements have a cascade of effects on the children, which increases the children's brand awareness and affects their consumption patterns. Unhealthy eating habits have made children prone to various harmful diseases at a very young age. They are facing cardiovascular and type2 diabetes problems, which is making them comorbid at an early age. The children are also facing acute depression due to such unhealthy food patterns. So, it's high time for the government to implement some steps through which the food advertisements agencies take health seriously. The local governments must try to find out methods through which healthy eating habits can be promoted. They must encourage every advertising agency to advertise to promote healthy eating habits within the children and the adults. The advertising agencies must find exciting ways of presenting healthy food to the children. The advertisement looks appealing to them and does not feel disinterested in consuming healthy food.
The department of health, the federal government should organise campaigns that put more stress on healthy eating habits and on the importance of physical activities. Physical activities act as an excellent remedy for curing obesity as well as heart diseases. It has numerous benefits. So, the campaigns must try to promote the positive health outcomes of such activities. They must encourage cycling and walking than riding any vehicle. The drives must portray the opposing sides of unhealthy healthy habits so that the children and the individuals are discouraged from eating any junk food. The food department must also ensure that all the food joints use oils that are lower in trans-fats and saturated fats. We believe that the government can successfully bring a change in the advertisement patterns in public places. As members of Nutrition Australia, we aim to promote the well-being and good health of the communities. We have even developed a healthy eating pyramid that can help individuals to eat the right kind of food in the right amount. We worked on various ventures prioritising the community's health, so if the government wants, they work in collaboration with our team. We can then develop innovative ideas to instil healthy food habits in the children and within the adults.
The wellness of the society and the community acts as the well-being of the nation. So it is always our primary aim to promote the health and well-being of the children. The children deserve to live a happy and healthy life, and this can only be done if the government takes initiatives to ban food marketing from state-owned private vehicles like trains and buses. More physical activity must be promoted so that in the near future and the coming years, the community can experience a healthy lifestyle. The cases of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and depression can be significantly reduced with such programs. Healthy food in public places should be encouraged highly encouraged. Keeping all the positive sides of healthy food in a public place in mind, we are hopeful that the federal government department of health will promote a healthy lifestyle for some children and adults.
We are looking forward to some actions of the City government concerning this. We are hopeful that the government will take some immediate steps keeping in mind the seriousness of the situation. In case of any assistance, please do get in touch with us.
I am looking forward to your acceptance and collaboration in this matter.
Barbara Ward, Lucinda Hancock,
President at Nutrition Australia CEO of Nutrition Australia
2. Summarising the advocacy activities
Advocacy could be defined as a strategy of arousing awareness levels and consciousness, and familiarity with an important issue for the well-being and greater welfare of the communities. Health advocacy, in this context, endeavours to promote significant health concerns to induce quality health care or healthy lifestyles underpinned with the motive of gaining or influencing the governmental policy support, political commitments, social acceptances, and proficient public efforts and thereby bring about significant changes (Hubinette et al., 2017). Therefore, to support the aforementioned formal submission to the government regarding the adoption of widespread healthy food alternatives at public places across Australia, it is essential to facilitate necessary advocacy activities to support the call for action collaboratively both at the individual and community level.
Since Nutrition Australia is committed to promoting the well-being and health of all Australians, we have now pledged to induce societal and governmental awareness concerning the production, offerings, and consumption of healthy food in public places. Keeping in mind the resources we have in hand, our new advocacy programme of encouraging the consumption of healthy food in public places would, as usual, encompass the federal government, health organisations, guiding bodies and educational institutions as well as general denizens of Australia (nutritionaustralia, 2021).
Our first advocacy activity would be to mobilise resources to the food-producing and delivery service at various places across Australia by collaborating with the food industry and other recognised health and nutrition organisations. This would help to strengthen the initiatives to renew and refurbish the food operation techniques as well as rethink the menu or items offered so as to include more healthy options on a large scale. Suppose the government could be assured of the fact even the efforts and interests of the food providers are integrated into these advocacy activities of overhauling the unhealthy food lifestyles gradually and improving the nutritional components of the foods being served at the public domains. In that case, the appeal to the federal government could be validated and authenticated to a greater extent. Therefore, by collaborating with the renowned and responsible profit or non-profit healthy food organisations in Australia, we would come forward to offer resources like beneficial sourcing of the raw materials, encourage judicious and reliable usage of the ingredients, provide financial aid to initiate healthy food production and strive to recognise and mitigate the loopholes that deter these food providers at the public places in offering healthy food.
In addition to this, Nutritional Australia would be partnering and collaborating with the significant public food settings and vendors to gain the momentum of ensuring and facilitating healthy food gradually. We would initially identify the most happening and popular pubic places ranging from institutional to streets foods places that are popular with the Australians as publicly available food outlets or snacking places and then attempt to offer them the nutrition criteria put forth by WHO. World Health Organisation (WHO) developed an action framework for devising and “implementing public food procurement and service policies for a healthy diet” to encourage and accentuate availability of the healthy food in public settings (who, 2021). Undertaking these activities that would propel the food providers at the public places to alleviate the high consumption of sugars, sodium, salt, fats, especially trans fats, as well as heightens inadequate consumption of the legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, we could induce in the preliminary yet sound ideas and awareness about how they should go about offering healthy foods at the public places. <,/p>
These mass efforts of improving the consumptions of healthy food would influence and stimulate the government to implement rapid and robust policies that would reliably retain and sustain the efforts initiated for the long-term positive health implications and consequences. Moreover, encouraging healthy food choices would also empower the citizens to prevent contracting any chronic diseases out of unhealthy lifestyles like heart diseases and type 2 diabetes (Chan et al., 2015). Apart from this, it must be stated that one of the core objectives behind these advocacies is that since public food serves the entire communities, from the underprivileged to the privileged ones, unhealthy diets might lead to detrimental repercussions for the downtrodden ones. This is because the poverty-stricken section of the population fails to get access to proper treatments and medication, which could eventually increase their mortality rate. Henceforth, it is expected that the significant scale interests and endeavours of the people from the individual and community level would trigger the government to devise policies that would look up into the entire process of food purchase, production, distribution, provision, service and sales to ensure consumption of the healthy food holistically.
In addition to this, even the dimension of driving and encouraging health equities by eliminating the health inequities across Australia would be included as part of the advocacy activities. As per the observations of Baciu et al. (2017), health inequities stands for the conscious or unconscious bias or discriminations or disparity in health between the population, which is perpetuated by the social, political, and economic forces. Nutrition Australia would strive to induce awareness amongst both the indigenous and the non-indigenous communities of Australia equally as those communities possess adequate health-oriented risks. However, on the other hand, it has been reported that the indigenous population of Australia have been suffering from shorter life expectancies in comparison to the non-indigenous population. This lays bare the inherent shortcomings in ensuring affordable and accessible healthcare facilities equally to the indigenous people along with lesser awareness and knowledge about healthy eating habits (gov,2018). Therefore, as an organisation, we have solemnised to foster health equities from variegated dynamics and hold awareness campaigns in these communities about the necessity and long-term health benefits for healthy food intake daily, especially when they have meals from public places. This would further influence the government to formulate norms and policies regarding the public food consumptions that would reflect the all-encompassing welfare of both the indigenous and the non-indigenous communities of Australia equally.
Furthermore, we would reiterate our goal of minimising the scopes and chances of food-related lifestyles disease through enhancing the notion, knowledge, and educating the masses on the necessity and benefits of healthy food intake even at public places, as part of our advocacy activities. This would be perpetuated by our organisation by undertaking mass awareness initiatives by adhering to activities like circulating leaflets, putting up billboards or using the popular social media platforms and digital channels to consistently circulate the same media message across the multiple channels to attract the attention of the wide spectrum of people. These activities align with our goals of delivering the healthy eating message to a larger audience through information sharing and media liaison that forms a crucial part of our advocacy programmes.By fostering an understanding of how to imbue good nutritional intake and the ways the public agencies of food providing services could improve and enhance their operations from food production to delivery services, Nutritional Australia would circulate media messages. This content would only not target the intended audience to make them understand the need of consuming healthy food but would also attract the attention of the government if the media messages get reiterated constantly.
Finally, our last efforts for promoting optimum quality and the healthy dietary regime would be channelised through educational services, as per our advocacy services. This is because we knew the capacity and potentiality that advocacy activities through collaboration with the educational institutions could entail from our former advocacy experiences. This would further help us influence and trigger federal and state government in taking appropriate policies or measures to strongly foster and implement the genuine intent of community welfare. Therefore, we would be consulting and launching educational programmes across the school, colleges, and universities to gain access to the children and young students and then make them understand why they shouldn’t consume unhealthy foods from the public arena and the negative health consequences they would face within them had they not restrict and modify their dietary habits and regime from the very formative age. The efforts would include offering nutritional knowledge that is readable, understandable, and comprehendible by all and thereby would be imparted by these educational institutions in the form of learning lessons as deemed appropriate for the students of varying age. Inculcating the habits of healthy consumption of food from the tender age as well as instilling the awareness of having healthy foods in the youngsters is very important and demands widespread efforts. This is because they are the ones to flock to public places mostly to have different types of fast foods without paying much heed to the future consequences neither having proficient and sound knowledge about it(Boylan et al., 2017). Furthermore, when the government would witness that even the educational institutions have been putting efforts to generate awareness regarding healthy food consumption, mostly at the public places, the concerned governmental authorities would inevitably devise new decorum or policies to protect the health integrity of the future generations.
Henceforth, Nutritional Australia would be implementing these advocacy activities to support the formal submission of the letter to the federal government centring on healthy foods in public places.
Baciu, A., Negussie, Y., Geller, A., Weinstein, J.N. and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2017. The root causes of health inequity. In Communities in action: Pathways to health equity. National Academies Press (US).
Boylan, S., Hardy, L.L., Drayton, B.A., Grunseit, A. and Mihrshahi, S., 2017. Assessing junk food consumption among Australian children: trends and associated characteristics from a cross-sectional study. BMC public health, 17(1), pp.1-9.
Chan, Y.Y., Teh, C.H., Lim, K.K., Lim, K.H., Yeo, P.S., Kee, C.C., Omar, M.A. and Ahmad, N.A., 2015. Lifestyle, chronic diseases and self-rated health among Malaysian adults: results from the 2011 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS). Public health assignment BMC public health, 15(1), pp.1-12.
gov.au 2018.Australia's health 2018: in brief, All is not equal - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [Online] Available at:
Hubinette, M., Dobson, S., Scott, I. and Sherbino, J., 2017. Health advocacy. Medical Teacher, 39(2), pp.128-135.
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