Optimal nutrition is essential for life. To achieve optimal nutrition we need secure access to an adequate, affordable and nutrition food supply. Conversely, food insecurity is associated with poor health, and poor health outcomes, including increased morbidity and mortality. Almost 4 per cent of the Australian non-Indigenous population reported household food insecurity in 2011-12 (ABS, 2015). For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people this figure was significantly higher. We are half way through the Closing the Gap strategy and mortality rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not significantly declining. Overweight and obesity contributes to 7 per cent of the total burden of disease (AIHW, 2018), however this doesn’t account for the impact of undernutrition and malnutrition on health. When food policy, nutrition and food related conversations have never been more common in our society, why are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still experiencing unacceptable levels of food insecurity?
Stewart Sutherland was born and raised in Wellington NSW the heart of Wiradjuri country. For over a decade he has worked in Indigenous health, in more recent years focusing on identity and mental health particularly Social and Emotional Wellbeing of the Stolen Generations (people forcibly removed from their families). Stewart has just finished his PHD, at the Australian National University Canberra, the focus of which was the interplay between reconciliation (apology) and the social emotional wellbeing of people forcibly removed from their families. Stewart is working at the ANU School of Medicine as the lecturer of Indigenous Health, where he is building on work of those before him, to ensure that Indigenous health and people are at the core.
Amanda Wingett is a descendant of the Yandruwandha and Yawarrawarrka people of the Cooper Basin region in South Australia. Over the past 15 years she has held various roles in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Amanda has a Masters of Public Health (Nutrition), from the University of Queensland, with a research focus on recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students into tertiary nutrition and dietetics education. In recent years she has had more of a focus on Indigenous health policy and planning. Amanda is currently employed as an Associate Lecturer – Indigenous Health with the ANU School of Medicine.