As has long been recognised, poor diet and nutritional status are strongly associated with a variety of chronic, preventable, and non-communicable diseases that are highly prevalent in Aboriginal communities. Not surprisingly, public health programs targeted at improving health outcomes among Aboriginal people increasingly identify improved nutrition as an essential focus of intervention.
In supporting the development of the Jawoyn Association's Nyirranggulung Health Strategy, the Fred Hollows Foundation commissioned CAEPR to research, as a 'scoping exercise', the structural elements that currently impede better nutrition in the communities of the Katherine East region of the Northern Territory, and to examine the current capacity to measure and monitor health impacts that might arise as the result of intervention. This monograph reports on the results.
The analysis reveals that it is not for want of public health research that Aboriginal communities continue to suffer poor nutritional status. Rather, we lack models for the practical application of research findings and for emphasising the interrelatedness of the contributory factors. Among those considered here are supply-side issues including transportation, store infrastructure and management, store food policies, and food prices; and demand-side issues such as employment and income status, educational policies, household expenditure, and capacity to manage household finances.