PROMOTING NUTRITIOUS FOOD AND ITS ACCESSIBILITY Essay Example

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PROMOTING NUTRITIOUS FOOD AND ITS ACCESSIBILITY

Introduction

Good health is sought after by every person but it does not always come easily. The Department of Human Services came up with seven health promotion priorities whose aim was to improve the health of the population in general and to reduce the health inequalities in Victoria. One of the seven priorities is the promotion of nutritious food and its accessibility. Proper nutrition is the core of a healthy body. A person with good nutrition has a lower chance of him getting infections as compared to another person who does not have nutrition as a priority. Good nutrition not only provides energy that is required to run the functions of the body but it also provides raw materials for body build up and repair of worn our tissues. Good nutrition also ensures that the body has adequate vitamins and minerals that are important for the running of the body functions as co-enzymes. Proper nutrition also enhances the immunity of a person in general. The body is able to fight off small infections and in the case of medication, the medicine works better with proper nutrition.

Proper nutrition evades some people in society due to lack of knowledge on how to balance their diets so as to achieve the best results. They are not informed on the specific foods they should eat in case they are suffering from a chronic disease like diabetes. Most of these people in society who do not have this information are poorly educated and their access to good health care is also limited. The financial aspect also plays a great role in lack of proper nutrition. Poor finances lead to poor living conditions hence poor nutrition. Every government should make the promotion of good nutrition a priority since the state of nutrition affect the general health and productivity of the person.

Health issues

Good health should be guarded jealously. The human body is very fragile and even the simplest disease could build up to a very complex situation. Good nutrition is one of the major factors that contribute to the maintenance of human health. A person with good nutrition has a higher chance of fighting off most diseases that attack his body even without medical intervention. However, there are the chronic diseases that need constant management like diabetes. Diabetes patients even under constant medication need proper nutrition so as to keep the disease in control. Another group that needs proper nutritional care is the infant group. When a child is born, their immune system is still in development stages. Good nutrition ensures that their immune system develops as required so the child is able to fight off diseases and infections.

Another health issue that needs constant management of the patient’s nutrition is HIV. Once a person gets infected with the HIV virus, his immunity declines gradually. “HIV impairs the nutritional status by undermining the immune system, as well as nutrient intake, absorption and use in the body” (Saethre, 2005). The body is not able to fight off disease to an extent where even the simplest of infections can be fatal. The patient also experiences periods of poor appetite therefore reducing the amount of nutrients taken in to the body. The little amount of nutrients that are taken in are poorly absorbed by the body, most of them going out as waste. The patient’s diet is very crucial to the survival of the patient (Saethre, 2005).

Significance of promoting accessibility of nutritious food in Australia

Australia is a developed country and continues to develop at a very high rate. Like most developed countries, the work hour’s stretch through to the night and early morning. This brings the growth of the fast food and canned food culture. The elite in society are faced with the problem of lack of adequate time to prepare a meal therefore opting to eat out in fast food restaurants to save time. Others buy canned food to reduce the preparation time of their meals. This canned food needs only a few minutes of microwaving. This culture is the main cause of the heightened increase in some chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer. When considering Australia, one cannot only look at the educated, elite members of the Australian society. There is a considerable number of native Australians still living in Australia. Most of the natives, regularly referred to as the Aborigines of Australia, do not have access to high levels of education therefore do not comprise of the elite in society. Most of the Aborigines live under the poverty line.

The fast food culture in Australia has brought about the increase of diseases like diabetes. Over the years, diabetes has become the most common cause of deaths across Australia. Diabetes is also wide spread among the Aborigines of Australia. The diabetes that affects the Aborigines is purely genetic. In the Aborigine population, the women get diabetes more than the men. This is attributed to their weight that is mostly concentrated around their abdomen.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is manageable but not treatable. In rare cases, due to very good management for several years, diabetes can die away. This mostly occurs in the cases where a child is diagnosed with diabetes and medication and proper management is started at a very early stage. Most people in Australia with diabetes have the type 2 diabetes mellitus. This type of diabetes is where the patient’s body does not produce adequate insulin. Insulin is used to regulate the blood sugar levels. Patients have high blood sugar levels and therefore should avoid taking in any additional sugars in their foods (Saethre, 2005).

Most Aborigines are unaware of their diabetes status due to the lack of proper education. The high rate of unemployment of the Aboriginals also puts them below the poverty line. They have no access to proper medical care. They do not have anybody to educate them on diabetes, its causes and management. Initially, the Aborigines were hunters and gatherers. Their bodies had adapted to the low calorie diet and they got a lot of exercise while looking for food. They have slowly been caught up with the new lifestyle of the non-aborigines. Their diet has a high carbohydrate and fat content and the exercise their bodies get is very minimal. Due to their high levels of poverty, they are not able to afford healthy food as it is expensive. The government of Australia has taken upon itself to promote the accessibility of nutritious foods to these people and also educate them on the disease (Macallan, 1995).

For the non-aborigines, most of them have stable jobs with attractive incomes. They are just unaware of the health risk they put their bodies through when they do not eat nutritious foods. As they try to keep up with the fast life in the city, they end up having no time to make a healthy meal. The larger percentage of the population is not aware that the diabetes they have could have been avoided with a few dietary changes.

Poor management of diabetes can lead to the loss of limbs and even death of the patient. For a patient to manage his diabetes properly, he has to be well informed of what he should eat and what he should avoid in his diet. The Aborigine population of Australia is one of the poorly educated populations of Australia. For them to be able to manage the diabetes, a lot of educative programs are required. They need to first be educated on the disease so that they can understand the diet requirements and be able to differentiate what is good and what is not in their every day foods. Most cities in Australia, especially ones with a high population of Aborigines, have set up programs in the town centres where the people are taught for free. They are told why they are at a higher risk of getting diseases like diabetes. They are also advised on what to change in their lifestyles so as to avoid getting diabetes. For the ones already with diabetes, they are taught on the importance of proper diets alongside the medication. They are also encouraged to visit a health facility frequently so for routine checkups.

For the non-aboriginal population, the task of educating them is lighter since most of them are literate. The government has set up programs in most work areas where a health practitioner comes in on a designated day and gives the employees an educative lecture on diabetes and its maintenance. There are also similar programs in schools for the teenagers who are of an understanding age.

There is also an initiative by the public hospitals to educate patients on diabetes regardless of whether you have it or not. They have educative pamphlets that they issue to patients getting out of the hospitals. The doctor’s themselves make it a habit to enquire from each patient whether they have been tested for diabetes and encourage them too if they haven’t. All this is done in order to educate the public on diabetes, its causes, prevention and management.

All persons in a leadership position should use his or her authority to educate people on diabetes. Medical practitioners are also very crucial in the relaying of this message to members of the public. Ignorance has no defense when it comes to diabetes.

References

Department of Human Services (2006), ‘Go for your life’: Victoria- leading the way to a

healthy and active community. Strategic Plan 2006–2010. Melbourne,

Victorian Government Department of Human Services.

Department of Human Services (2006), Health promotion priorities for Victoria: a

discussion paper. Melbourne, Victorian Government Department of Human Services.

Health Insite- A Healthdirect Australia health information service, (2006), Diabetes Mellitus-

One of Australia’s top six health priorities,
http://www.healthinsite.gov.au/expert/diabetes-mellitus, Date accessed, 30th April, 2011

Macallan DC et al. (1995). Energy expenditure in diabetes. New England Journal of Medicine,

333(2):83−88

My Doctor.com, (2003), Diabetes in Aboriginal Australians,
http://www.mydr.com.au/diabetes/diabetes-in-aboriginal-australians, Date Accesses, 30th April, 2011.

Saethre, E. 2005, Nutrition, Economics and Food Distribution in an Australian

Aboriginal Community, Anthropological Forum, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 151–69.