Increasing access to healthy foods in corporate plans

Why this is important

The role of nutrition and healthy eating is widely recognised in reducing the risk of diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, obesity and injury. The role of promoting health and nutrition has traditionally fallen to the state and federal governments through the health care system. However, it is increasingly being recognised that local government has the opportunity to positively affect healthy eating behaviour of its constituents through healthy public policy.

Increase access to healthy foods

It is now common for fast food retailers to have broader menu options that include healthier foods, such as sandwich and salad bar lines. However, the ready to eat foods that are most commonly available through fast food outlets and are heavily marketed and promoted, generally have larger portion sizes, higher calories per serve and higher fat and sugar levels per serve.

On a dollar per calorie basis, these foods are generally more affordable than fresh foods. The challenge for communities, local government and the health care system is to increase access to, and the availability of, healthy food choices. Through local laws and policy, options available to local government include regulation of:

  • food licensing
  • roadside stalls.

See Local Law & Policy Matters for Consideration of this resource package for more information on local laws and policy options.

Strategies

  1. Encourage street vendors, restaurants, cafés and takeaway venues to provide healthy food choices through food licensing, policy and local laws
  2. Establish corporate policies for healthy catering at:
    • sporting facilities, such as swimming pools, sporting grounds and gymnasiums
    • sporting, cultural and other events and festivals – start with council-run or sponsored events, and events at council-owned facilities (such as swimming carnivals at council pools)
    • council administration building/s and other facilities, such as botanical gardens
  3. Manage the foods sold from vending machines at venues and through food safety licensing
  4. Partner with other agencies or support other agencies in providing home delivery services, especially for elderly and disabled residents